The supraspinatus tendon is a dense fibrous band of tissue that connects the supraspinatus muscle to the shoulder joint. The supraspinatus muscle is connected to the shoulder blade and helps with shoulder movement. This tendon is a part of the rotator cuff and any injury or inflammation has been the usual source of shoulder pain among many individuals. The incidence of rotator cuff injuries tends to increase with age and frequently triggered by degeneration of the tendon rather than injury from sports or trauma. The supraspinatus tear or inflammation can trigger pain, difficulty raising the shoulder and joint swelling. In most cases, damage to the supraspinatus can be managed conservatively but surgery might be required in severe cases.
The non-surgical management of a supraspinatus tear can provide relief in most cases. Most of these individuals notice an improvement with the pain and motion. The doctor will initially recommend rest and ice therapy, especially after the start of the supraspinatus tear or damage.
With the help of rest and ice therapy, the ligament can heal and the symptoms will subside over time. Even though the individual will notice a reduction in swelling and pain, the strength does not improve with these non-surgical treatments. With this in mind, those who require an improvement in shoulder strength should consider surgical treatment.
There are medications that can be given to manage a supraspinatus injury. The objective of treatment is to relieve the pain and inflammation. In most cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen can be prescribed by the doctor to manage these symptoms.
Take note that these medications are highly effective since they alter the chemical signals linked to inflammation and pain. Once taken on a regular basis, they can provide beneficial effects. Even though helpful, NSAIDs can cause certain side effects such as clay-colored stools, dark urine, heart issues and stomach pain. If the individual experiences any of these side effects, a doctor should be consulted. The doctor might prescribe a different medication or reduce the dosage to minimize the side effects.
Surgery is indicated for cases that do not respond to conservative treatment options and linked with loss of function, weakness and limited joint movement. In case the individual decides to undergo surgery, the surgeon will fix the torn supraspinatus tendon and connect it back to the shoulder joint.
In most circumstances, the surgeon will recommend arthroscopic surgery that involves the creation of three small holes where a camera and two surgical instruments are inserted. The surgeon utilizes these tools to fix the damaged supraspinatus tendon. There are also risks involved when it comes to arthroscopic surgery such as excessive bleeding, infection, shoulder joint damage, nerve damage and excessive scarring of the shoulder joint. With this in mind, all the benefits and risk involved in this procedure should be carefully discussed with the doctor.