Mrs W. was referred to Occupational Therapy for a right rotator cuff tear and decreased independence with bathing, dressing, and housekeeping due to limited right shoulder movement, strength, and extreme pain. Initially, Mrs W was very fearful of moving right shoulder and even a gentle touch was painful.
Each session began with her lying face up, with a heating pad on her shoulder, while she was led through deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. She would only allow her right shoulder to be moved only 10 degrees in each plane of movement without tensing up and guarding to prevent possible pain. She was taught to breath into each movement and began to trust that I would not move her arm beyond pain.
A detailed home exercise program was provided for her to follow up progress made in therapy sessions. Slowly, she was able to move her arm in a pain free range in a gravity eliminated plane, then gradually she was moving her arm to perform her ADLs and regaining her strength to perform her housework. After approximately 4 months, she was discharged from therapy, pain free and confident.