By Non-Surgical Shoulder Pain Expert Dr. Matthew Hernandez, of Ethos Integrative Medicine

“Do I have to quit tennis if I want to avoid surgery?” This was the first question Jerry lobbed at me as we sat in my office. His once-ace tennis game had been disrupted by a persistent rotator cuff injury, dealing him a double fault in his athletic pursuits.

“I don’t know what else to do, doc. I’ve done e-stim, dry needling, physical therapy exercises — and I am still having pain. The orthopedic surgeon gave me a cortisone shot and told me I’d have to wait until the tear was bad enough for surgery — which also means I have to wait for the pain to get worse. And I can’t even play now.”

The Aces and Pains
Jerry’s story is a common one in our office. He has done everything his insurance allows him to do, but he’s not making a “grand slam” recovery. The good news for Jerry is that there are options outside of insurance that allow him to get back to playing without shoulder pain.

To better understand Jerry’s options, we need to look at why he isn’t better in the first place. The vast majority of injuries are a result of repetitive, poor movement patterns, which cause wear and tear to the muscle and joint structures in the body. Jerry’s rotator cuff injury was a result of this poor movement pattern.

While the treatments he received focused on correcting the movement pattern, which is crucial, they missed the sweet spot in addressing the rotator cuff injury causing his pain. Sure, the cortisone injection provided temporary relief, but it also caused more damage to the tissue.

Experiencing a Little Deuce?
Jerry found himself in what our team calls “The Gap” in orthopedic medicine — where conservative care is exhausted, surgery isn’t an immediate option, and waiting for the pain to get worse is the only choice.

This is where regenerative medicine comes into play. With these treatments, we were able to heal the rotator cuff and eliminate Jerry’s pain, allowing him to get back on the court and ace in tennis once again.

Want to learn more about our approach at Ethos Integrative Medicine? Scan the QR code to discover how we found Jerry’s problem and understand what’s causing your shoulder pain!