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Revive Spine and Sport – An Alternative to Shoulder Surgery for Torn Labrum and Rotator Cuff Injuries

“Honey, can you get the Christmas tree down from the attic?”  A few years ago, I met this jolly, seasonal task with apprehension and struggle.  I had tweaked my shoulder a week earlier, and the process of filling my family’s home with holiday joy was beginning to make me feel like The Grinch.  I found out first-hand that an episode of shoulder pain is quite the nuisance -- so what are your best options?


When faced with a shoulder injury such as a torn labrum or rotator cuff damage, the immediate thought for many people is to consider surgery as the only option.  However, the latest trends in physical therapy including hands-on treatment, electro-dry needling, and progressive exercise are winning the debate versus surgery.  

In 2021, a group of shoulder surgeons (Kukkonen, Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery) published their large-scale study results which included 150 people.  Comparing physical therapy versus surgery showed nearly identical outcomes at 1, 2, and 5-year follow-up. 

The only difference?  Surgery had higher rates of infection, cost, opioid use, blood loss, time missing work, and post-operative complications. 

Back et al. reproduced the study in 2022 with 184 patients and found the same results!

Other studies with similar results:  Chalmers et al., 2018.  Jaggi et al., 2023.  Yoon et al., 2023. 



Choosing Revive over surgery can provide significant cost and time savings.  Surgical procedures not only involve huge costs related to the surgery itself but also post-operative care and rehab which will normally last 6-10 weeks with missed time from work.  With Revive, as well as utilizing the McKenzie Method, patients usually experience faster recovery times, better function, with less cost.  Your time is important; we get after the root-cause and empower people with the techniques to improve their shoulder pain and get them back to what they love doing.


So, when you are faced with a shoulder injury, what can you do to help?  For most folks, keeping up your current fitness/exercise program is highly beneficial.  There’s a myriad of healing properties in regard to exercise and our doctors at Revive show people how to work around their current injury.  If sleeping is an issue, we have a number of tricks up our sleeves to show you modifications and ways to off-load painful structures.  Finally, minimizing sugars and processed foods can reduce neuro-inflammation and reduce pain levels (Fairchild, Journal of Pain, 2023.)  During this episode, keeping your diet clean can have a direct correlation with pain levels.



Finally, when should you seek care?  Generally, if a painful shoulder isn’t improving, becomes numb or weak, radiates past the shoulder into the rest of your arm, or stops you from doing things you love – it’s likely time to have one of our doctors do an assessment.  At Revive, we pride ourselves on the importance of understanding the person in front of us, making a connection, and doing the best darn physical exam they’ve experienced in years.  Following their exam, we’ll perform treatment and then re-check their painful motions.  We want John or Sarah to leave their evaluation saying “Boy, I haven’t had a doctor look at me that thoroughly, ever.  They took the time to break down my troublesome movements and showed me exactly what I need to do outside of here to fix my problem.”


Our team at Revive is trying to change the landscape of healthcare.  Come see the difference.


Written by Dr. Taylor Kurtz, PT, OCS, Cert-DN

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