Difficulty sleeping is a common complaint for people with shoulder problems, including rotator cuff tears. A new study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine examines the effect of rotator cuff tears on sleep quality, and the beneficial effect surgical cuff repair can have on sleep.
Drs Luke Austin and Fotois Tjoumakaris, along with their team of researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, studied the effect of rotator cuff tears and subsequent repair on 56 patients using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). They found that almost 90% of patients with rotator cuff tears had a sleep disturbance. They also found that sleep quality improved over the first six months after rotator cuff repair surgery, and over 60% of patients who had surgery achieved normal sleep scores within 6 months of the procedure.
Prior studies have shown improvements in pain and shoulder function after surgery to repair a painful torn rotator cuff. This new study suggests that having surgery in this setting may improve other quality of life measures, as well. Proper sleep has countless beneficial health effects, so the results of this study should be considered when deciding whether to seek treatment for a painful shoulder.