Surgery is a last resort for rotator cuff injuries, and treatments such as medication, rest and exercises are always tried first, according to WebMD. If the pain associated with rotator cuff injury is not treated by other methods, surgery is the only option.
Medication is usually the first line of treatment when dealing with rotator cuff issues, explains WebMD. Though medication does not cure a rotator cuff injury, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help ease the pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen also is used, as are corticosteroid shots. The corticosteroid shots are given every three to four weeks, though usually only a few shots are needed for relief.
For some people, rest is all that is needed when attempting to treat a rotator cuff injury, states WebMD. If possible, the shoulder should be immobilized for several days, with limited movement only if necessary. Several times each day the arm should be slowly moved through its range of motion, and then immobilized again. Ice and heat are also used to treat a rotator cuff injury. Neither of these work better than the other, so doctors recommend that patients use whichever feels better. Keep in mind that ice helps the pain and swelling, and heat should not be used until after 48 hours of the injury.