How do I Know If I Have a Rotator Cuff Tear?
Shoulder pain is very common, and many of those with shoulder pain wonder and worried about why they have pain. They would also like to take steps to figure out the cause of their shoulder pain and ask themselves: how do I know if I have a rotator cuff tear? And most importantly, they want to know what it will take to make their shoulder stop hurting.
If you have shoulder pain, and you are trying to figure out why, seeing a shoulder specialist like Dr. Johnny T. Nelson MD is a great place to start.
Before you start working on trying to make your shoulder feel better, it is usually a good idea to be evaluated by a specialist and make sure that you have the correct “diagnosis” before you start treating the condition. If you do not have a correct diagnosis, sometimes you can be performing the wrong treatment. Think of it like driving a car: if you were trying to get somewhere, you need to know where you are starting, or else, the directions you are, following will not take you to the right place.
Typically it is a good idea to start with simple things like an x-ray, physical examination, and several questions about the history of your pain: When did it start? How bad is it? What movements make the pain worse? Do any movements make the pain better? Have any treatments you tried made it better?
With these pieces of information, a highly trained shoulder specialist like Johnny T. Nelson, MD is able to give you more information about your specific diagnosis, and most importantly, the best treatment for that diagnosis. From there, you might consider anti-inflammatory medicine, physical therapy or chiropractic care, anti-inflammatory injections, simple home exercises or watchful waiting.
Sometimes Dr. Nelson may recommend an MRI of your shoulder. This is if there is more concern for a more major problem, or if you have been having severe pain for a long time and other treatment methods have not helped.
However Dr. Nelson is one of the only orthopedic surgeons in the Raleigh Durham area to offer in-office ultrasound for the evaluation of the rotator cuff.
How is in-office ultrasound helpful?
In office ultrasound is a great way to determine the health of your rotator cuff. While x-rays can be very helpful to shows the bones, x-rays do not show us the health of the rotator cuff. Sometimes a specialist can get information on the health of the rotator cuff with a physical exam, but still rotator cuff tears can be missed. In-office ultrasound helps shoulder specialist such as Dr. Johnny T. Nelson see rotator cuff tears quickly and easily. Furthermore, ultrasound gives you and Dr. Nelson peace of mind that you do not have a rotator cuff tear, and performing simple nonsurgical treatment is probably the best way to go.
Ultrasound to check for rotator cuff tears takes only a few minutes, and you are able to see the results as they happen in real-time. Dr. Johnny T. Nelson loves to point out the findings on ultrasound as he sees them, and teaches patients about the anatomy of the rotator cuff.
Sometimes if a rotator cuff tear is found, an MRI examination is ordered to get more information. Because ultrasound is not a perfect tool, if there are signs that there is a tear of the rotator cuff, an MRI is able to give us much more information and confirm the findings on ultrasound.
Do you have shoulder pain? Are you worried that you have a rotator cuff tear? Are you interested in ultrasound examination of your shoulder? Call 919-872-5296 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Johnny T. Nelson, MD, Raleigh shoulder specialist!