If you have ever suffered from rotator cuff calcific tendinosis (RCCT) then you know how quickly it can limit your movement and hinder your lifestyle. Indeed, RCCT can cause excruciating pain that seems to last forever.
Although the symptoms can vary depending on the stage of your condition, RCCT is a very debilitating condition.
What is Rotator Cuff Calcific Tendinosis?
Tendinosis is a condition that is comprised of pain and swelling of a tendon. Quite often it is confused with tendonitis, which is a completely different condition. Tendonitis induces inflammation and is generally caused by an acute injury. Symptoms include extreme pain, redness, swelling and unusual warmth. Tendinosis symptoms are not comprised of redness or warmth. However, the inflamed area can be painful when touched. Moreover, the condition is chronic (long-lasting). In fact, tendinosis usually advances gradually and will last a long time.
RCCT is a condition of calcium deposits within the tendon of the rotor cuff. The calcium deposits are typically about 1-2 centimetres in size. Generally, the condition is found in patients 30-40 years old or older. As well, rotator cuff calcific tendinosis seems to have a greater prevalence in diabetics. Granting, the calcium deposits are not always painful. But when they are painful, the pain generally subsides after one to four weeks.
Frankly, the cause of RCCT is not completely understood. However, there are numerous theories such as aging of the tendons and inadequate blood supply. But, there is no real evidence to support these claims.
Another persuasive theory is delayed healing. For instance, when a tendon is injured, collagen forming cells called fibroblasts help heal the area. After a few weeks or months, the fibroblasts are not as prevalent and are exchanged by osteoblasts (bone forming cells). It is the osteoblasts that increase the growth of calcium (bone) in the tendon. But if the tendon is not completely healed then there can be the development of calcific tendonitis.
The rotor cuff helps keep the shoulder joint centralized. And when the shoulder ball is centred over the small socket, it helps prevent numerous injuries like a partial or full dislocation, impingement and bursitis. The rotor cuff also allows refined movements of the ball joint on the socket for complete shoulder movement.
RCCT is often a recurring condition due to patients returning back to work or sports to soon. As well, because the pain subsides quickly during treatment, patients often do not complete rehabilitation. In effect, the condition returns and treatment needs to start over.
Currently, one of the most innovative and successful therapies is radial pressure wave treatment
Radial Pressure Wave Treatment
Radial pressure wave treatment also known as shockwave therapy entails quick, frequent and high strength surges of shockwaves. The shockwaves are transmitted into the soft tissue that has been damaged or is inflamed. When correctly applied, radial pressure wave treatment can increase healing, reduce pain and inflammation, improve localized blood flow and lessen muscle spasms.
During treatment, most patients report only minor discomfort. In fact, many claim that the treatments are very effective for chronic pain, muscle spasms and overall conditions. Moreover, successful treatment rates are as high as 90%.