I've been trying to work through it with physical therapy since November, and I intend to continue on that path unless I really have to do something else. I love my PT, and he is all for avoiding surgery if possible. I do active as well as passive exercises specific to the rotator cuff (every day!) , and he does manual joint mobilizations and e-stim therapy. However, on Monday I subluxed (dislocated momentarily) my shoulder during my exercises at home, and he's concerned about the worsening instability. About 35% of people over 55 have asymptomatic rotator cuff tears, so that's why I've been trying this first -- so nobody will point to the MRI and take the easy route of assuming that must be the problem if there is a tear. At some point, though, we need a clearer picture of what is going on.
I'm pretty sure nobody would be more reluctant than I am right now to have shoulder surgery. So no, I'm not rushing in to anything. I am pretty miserable though.