Prolotherapy for Chronic Pain and Sports Medicine
Ross Hauser, M.D. Oak Park, Illinois Appointment Information Ask a question


Shoulder injury options



Rotator Cuff Surgery and Prolotherapy
oss Hauser, M.D.

MRIs of the Shoulder Are Often Misleading

Unfortunately for the athlete, MRIs are frequently used as the basis for determining the need for surgery; however, as with other areas of the body, a shoulder MRI can be very misleading. MRIs done on completely asymptomatic individuals show a high prevalence of tears of the rotator cuff. In one study by Dr. C. Neumann 89 percent of the MRIs on totally asymptomatic shoulders showed abnormalities in the rotator cuff. In another study by Jerry Sher, M.D. and associates, 34 percent of the individuals showed a partial tear of the rotator cuff and 15 percent showed complete full-thickness tears. These again were in people with full range of motion of their shoulders with absolutely no symptoms. His conclusion was that surgical intervention based on MRI findings alone is not warranted. Another study showed that physical examination was actually better for diagnosing shoulder injuries than MRI. This study even included the diagnosis of glenoid labrum tears. MRI scanning in this study only picked up 59 percent of the tears. Athletes, use caution if a surgeon wants to scope or scalpel you because of MRI findings.

Shoulder Injuries, A non-surgical alternative
The most common cause of chronic shoulder complaints in the athlete is rotator cuff tendonitis, specifically weakness of the supraspinatous tendon. In pitching, the arm is repeatedly abducted and externally rotated and this puts a strain on the rotator cuff, resulting in frequent tears or injuries. Poor circulation in the rotator cuff tendon increases the likelihood that degeneration of the tendon will occur with repeated injury. Knowing whether the rotator cuff tendon is completely torn is a key thing to know in order for the athlete to determine the best course of action. A complete rotator cuff tear needs immediate surgical repair. This is usually manifested by the athlete's inability to lift the arm overhead and is almost always the result of severe trauma. The athlete will have good range of motion away from the body, if someone else moves the arm. The athletes with complete tears will only be able to move their shoulders about 30 degrees on their own.

Ross Hauser, M.D.
is one of the leading experts in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries with
Prolotherapy. He, along with his wife Marion, have written seven books on the topic of Prolotherapy, a comprehensive book on the natural medicine approach to cancer, as well as a myriad of articles and newsletters for the general public. Read more

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