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Blog & Resources

Finding Relief for SLAP Tears without Surgery: SoftWave Therapy at Camarata Chiropractic & Wellness

Published November 4th, 2023 by Dr. Sam Camarata

A SLAP tear, which stands for "Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior," is a common shoulder injury that often plagues athletes and individuals with overuse or trauma-related shoulder problems. SLAP tears can be painful and debilitating, affecting your daily activities and overall quality of life. While surgery has traditionally been the go-to treatment, there is a non-surgical alternative that offers amazing results: SoftWave Therapy at Camarata Chiropractic & Wellness, led by Dr. Sam Camarata and his fantastic team.

Understanding SLAP Tears

SLAP tears typically occur in the labrum, which is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket. The labrum helps stabilize the shoulder joint and is crucial for maintaining its proper function. SLAP tears are categorized into four types:

  1. Type I: Fraying or degeneration of the superior labrum with no detachment.
  2. Type II: Detachment of the superior labrum and long head of the biceps tendon from the glenoid.
  3. Type III: Bucket-handle tear of the labrum with an intact biceps tendon.
  4. Type IV: Bucket-handle tear of the labrum extending into the biceps tendon.

Causes and Symptoms of SLAP Tears

SLAP tears can result from various causes, including traumatic events like falls or accidents, overuse injuries from repetitive overhead movements (common in athletes like baseball pitchers), or simply the aging process. 

Common symptoms of SLAP tears include:

  • Shoulder pain, particularly during activities involving overhead motion.
  • Decreased strength and range of motion in the affected shoulder.
  • Catching or popping sensations within the shoulder joint.
  • A feeling of instability in the shoulder, as though it might "give way."

Diagnosing SLAP Tears

Diagnosing a SLAP tear typically requires a combination of methods, including a thorough physical examination, imaging studies (like MRI or arthroscopy), and a detailed review of your medical history. Your doctor will assess the severity of the tear and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Traditional Treatment for SLAP Tears

For many years, surgical intervention has been the primary treatment for SLAP tears, especially for athletes or individuals with severe tears. Surgery aims to reattach the torn labrum to the glenoid and address any associated issues with the biceps tendon.

Non-Surgical Alternative: SoftWave Therapy

SoftWave Therapy, available at Camarata Chiropractic & Wellness in Rochester, NY, offers a breakthrough non-surgical alternative for SLAP tear treatment. This cutting-edge therapy uses electrohydraulic supersonic acoustic waves to stimulate the body's natural healing processes. 

Here's how it can benefit SLAP tear patients:

Pain Reduction: 

SoftWave Therapy effectively alleviates shoulder pain associated with SLAP tears, providing relief without the need for invasive surgery.

Inflammation Reduction: 

SLAP tears often lead to inflammation in the shoulder joint. SoftWave Therapy targets and reduces inflammation, promoting the healing process.

Improved Blood Flow: 

By enhancing blood flow and circulation to the injured area via a process called angiogenesis, SoftWave Therapy aids in tissue repair and regeneration.

Stem Cell Activation: 

SoftWave Therapy activates stem cells, encouraging them to migrate to the affected shoulder joint for tissue repair.


Unlike surgery, SoftWave Therapy is non-invasive, meaning it doesn't require incisions or the associated risks.

What does the literature say about Non-surgical treatments for SLAP tears?

Return to play following nonsurgical management of superior labrum anterior-posterior tears: a systematic review: J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2022 Jun;31(6):1323-1333. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2021.12.022. Epub 2022 Jan 19.


Background: Superior labrum anterior-posterior (SLAP) tears are common shoulder injuries, especially in overhead athletes. Often, initial management of these injuries is nonsurgical with focused rehabilitation. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the outcomes of nonsurgical management of SLAP tears in athletes.

Methods: A systematic review was performed for articles published before March 2021 using key search terms pertaining to clinical studies evaluating the nonsurgical treatment of SLAP tears...

Results: Five articles met the inclusion criteria. There were 244 total athletes (162 elite or higher-level athletes). The mean ages ranged from 20.3 to 38.0 years. Type II SLAP tears were most common; baseball, softball, and weightlifting were the most common sports involved. The return-to-play rate was 53.7% in all athletes and 52.5% in elite or higher-level athletes. In athletes who were able to complete their nonoperative rehabilitation program, the return-to-play rate was 78% in all athletes and 76.6% in elite or higher-level athletes. The overall rate of return to prior performance was 42.6%, which increased to 72% for those athletes who were able to complete their rehabilitation...

Conclusions: Overall, nonoperative treatment of SLAP tears in athletes can be successful, especially in the subset of patients who are able to complete their rehabilitation program before attempting a return to play...prospective studies would be beneficial..."

At Camarata Chiropractic & Wellness, Dr. Sam Camarata and his team are committed to providing non-surgical, effective solutions for shoulder injuries like SLAP tears. 

SoftWave Therapy, as part of their comprehensive approach to care, offers promising results for pain relief and improved shoulder function.

If you're struggling with a SLAP tear and looking for a non-surgical alternative, contact Camarata Chiropractic & Wellness in Rochester, NY, to explore the benefits of SoftWave Therapy. Regain your shoulder's strength, mobility, and overall quality of life without the need for invasive surgery.

Give us a call! 585-617-415 or Book an appointment ONLINE HERE for SoftWave Therapy!

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