Folk tales talk about carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. And rightfully so. Our shoulders support grocery bags, briefcases, and backpacks as well as carry children, support those in need, and keep us upright and strong.
But when something goes wrong, our whole body feels the pain. If you’ve sustained rotator cuff damage through age, accident, or injury, let Longview’s Pacific Surgical Center (PSC) help.
The Mayo Clinic explains that “The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder…Rotator cuff injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports. Examples include painters, carpenters, and people who play baseball or tennis. The risk of rotator cuff injury also increases with age.”
“Splitting and tearing of tendons may result from acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendons,” say the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “These tears may be partial or may completely separate the tendon from its attachment to bone. In most cases of complete tears, the tendon is pulled away from its attachment to the bone. Rotator cuff and biceps tendon injuries are among the most common of these injuries.”
While most rotator cuff injuries heal through physical therapy and non-surgical treatment, a rotator cuff tear requires surgical care as soon as possible. According to one study analyzing surgical outcomes, “The average cost of medical care was $50,302.25 per patient. The average time to return to unrestricted duty from the date of injury was 11 months. However, patients referred to a specialist immediately following the diagnosis of a rotator cuff tear had total costs that averaged $25,870.64 and returned to work an average of 7 months postoperatively.”
Those costs took into account physical therapy, hospital stays, and lost work but the point is clear: fix sooner rather than later. The final determination is up to your primary care doctor, but if surgery is called for, give PSC a call.
The Healthcare Bluebook allows users to search and compare prices for medical treatment in their area. Their sources show costs for an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair ranging greatly. Fair price is considered $10,171 but has often reached $18,000 or higher. At PSC, their clearly posted transparency pricing model shows that repair costs $8,821 and includes the facility fee as well as physician fees for the surgeon and anesthesiologist.
PSC’s skilled doctors perform all surgeries on an outpatient basis. Experts explain that “Shoulder arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope to examine or repair the tissues inside or around your shoulder joint. The arthroscope is inserted through a small cut (incision) in your skin.” Repairs are then made and damaged tissue removed.
Admittedly as we age, we suffer more frequent aches and pains. Not sure if your shoulder stiffness requires fixing? If you’ve been injured or the pain has lasted more than six months, surgery may be necessary. Other indicators are significant arm weakness, loss of function, or a deep ache that makes it hard to reach behind you or even comb your hair.
Rotator cuff injuries are “most common in people older than 40, athletes who regularly use repetitive arm motions, such as baseball pitchers, archers and tennis players, have a greater risk of having a rotator cuff injury. [Also] occupations such as carpentry or house painting require repetitive arm motions, often overhead, that can damage the rotator cuff over time. There may be a genetic component involved with rotator cuff injuries as they appear to occur more commonly in certain families,” say the Mayo Clinic.
Don’t brush it off or mask the symptoms with over the counter painkillers. Say doctors “Without treatment, rotator cuff problems may lead to permanent loss of motion or weakness, and may result in progressive degeneration of the shoulder joint. Although resting your shoulder is necessary for your recovery, keeping your shoulder immobilized for a prolonged time can cause the connective tissue enclosing the joint to become thickened and tight (frozen shoulder).”
Even when we’re injured, life goes on. But when your shoulders hurt, it can effect sleep, mobility, exercise, and even typing at the computer. Sit down with your doctor and one of the amazing PSC team to determine the best course of action. They, and their dedicated team of financial counselors, will work hard to get you moving again, pain-free. Request a treatment specialist online or by calling 360-442-7900.