Rotator Cuff Injury Newmarket

Physiotherapy for Rotator Cuff Tears


What Causes a Rotator Cuff Tear?

As the name suggests, a rotator cuff tear is a tear of your shoulder’s rotator cuff tendons. These tears can occur in two ways:

  1. Trauma: Traumatic rotator cuff tears occur suddenly, caused by a high force going through the tendon that pushes it beyond its limit. This is usually the result of a heavy load, such as a forceful throw, a fall onto an outstretched hand, as well as heavy pushing, pulling or lifting.
  2. Repeated Micro-trauma: This is the more common cause of rotator cuff tears. These kinds of tears develop over weeks or months, through repeated straining or pinching of the rotator cuff tendons. These injuries often occur in athletes involved in swimming, weight lifting, racquet sports, throwing sports such as baseball, or paddling sports such as rowing.  In non-athletes, micro-trauma can be caused by repeated pushing, pulling, lifting, or overhead activities.


One of the most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear is pain over the top of the shoulder and arm. This pain may extend down the outside of the arm and be present during both activity and rest. Another frequent symptom is shoulder weakness, particular when lifting your arm up overhead. You may also notice a clicking or crackling sensation when moving your shoulder in certain positions. Depending on the severity of the tear, these symptoms may be mild or they may be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities.


Treatment of rotator cuff tears and the effectiveness of surgical intervention are often debated among health care professionals. A recent study from Finland suggests that physiotherapy alone can be equally as effective in treating rotator cuff tears as arthroscopic surgery and open surgical repair. In this study, 167 patients with non-traumatic tears of the supraspinatus tendon were followed for one year as they received different treatments. The result was that the patients who received physiotherapy alone showed similar rates of improvement compared to those who received surgery. This indicates that surgery may not be necessary in many cases, and physiotherapy can be effective as the primary treatment for rotator cuff tears.

This can seem a little confusing at first. How can a rotator cuff tear heal without surgery to actually close the tear? It’s possible because the tear does not necessarily have to be repaired for patients to experience pain relief, restored mobility, and increased strength. In fact, research has shown that 30% of people under age 70, and 70% of people over age 80, actually have a rotator cuff tear, yet experience no symptoms. Therefore, the tear itself is not a problem, only the symptoms associated with it; and these symptoms can be resolved through physiotherapy.

Common treatment techniques for rotator cuff tears include:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Electrotherapy
  • Joint mobilization
  • Ice or heat treatment
  • Progressive exercises to improve strength and flexibility
  • Technique correction and education

Treatment is most effective if begun as soon as possible after the injury, and therefore it’s important to seek treatment right away if you suspect you may have sustained a rotator cuff tear. The professional team at Spectrum Physiotherapy can assess your shoulder symptoms, work with you to develop a treatment plan, and guide you along the road to recovery.

Physiotherapy After Car Accident

Physiotherapy After a Motor Vehicle Accident

The professional team at Spectrum Physiotherapy Newmarket has extensive experience in helping patients recover following motor vehicle accidents.

In Ontario, any physical injuries you suffer in car accident are covered by your auto insurance company. At Spectrum Physiotherapy Newmarket, we can answer your questions about making a claim and submitting information to your insurance company, making it easier for you to begin treatment without delay.

Even if you only experienced a minor fender bender, you may still have suffered damage to the soft tissues of your neck and spine, in addition to other injuries.  Whiplash, in particular, is extremely common following all kinds of car accidents, particularly if your car is hit from behind by other vehicle. During impact, your head is suddenly thrown backwards and forwards (or vice versa), or abruptly rotated, extending the muscles and ligaments of your neck beyond their typical range of motion. Often, this motion happens so quickly that you may not even realize it happened. Most people start to notice symptoms in the first 48 hours after the accident, but in other cases, symptoms do not appear for up to two weeks.

Some of these symptoms might include:

  • Pain, aches or stiffness in the neck, shoulders and/or back
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Headaches
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
  • General fatigue


It’s important to have the extent of your injuries assessed as soon as possible after the accident, in order to minimize your risk of sustaining long-term damage. Don’t wait and see, hoping the symptoms will resolve on their own. Pain often leads to decreased activity, which in turn creates even more stiffness, weakness and pain, further interfering with your daily routine.

At Spectrum Physiotherapy Newmarket, we can evaluate your function, pain, and the severity of your injuries. Based on your unique condition and goals, we’ll recommend an appropriate treatment program for you, which will help alleviate any discomfort, and work towards regaining full pain-free movement.

Your treatment may include:

  • Acupuncture, electrical simulation, heat, cold and other treatments to provide acute pain relief
  • Education on posture, positioning, and appropriate body mechanics
  • Manual therapy treatments to decrease pain and improve mobility
  • Specific exercises to manage symptoms, as well as restore strength and mobility

If you have questions about what type pf physiotherapy care is right for you after a motor vehicle accident, contact us today to speak to one of our physio professionals