by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough

Rotator cuff tears are common among older adults and can result in significant pain and limited arm motion. That is because the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff can all have different problems. The muscles work as a team.

When people hear the term rotator cuff they think of surgery. Any baseball fan dreads the term being thrown around when it comes to their favorite pitcher. But surgery is not for everybody.

For most older patients with a rotator cuff tear, initial treatment involves up to three months of non-surgical methods such as pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise and rest. One of the best things you can do is get a regular exercise program from a physical therapist. It can make a big difference.