Rotator Cuff Injuries

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Rotator Cuff Injuries

Do you experience pain in your shoulder? Are you someone who engages in lots of physical activity that involves the overuse of your arms and back? If this sounds like you, it’s possible that you’re suffering from a rotator cuff injury. Your rotator cuff, a sheath constructed of conjoined ligaments, muscles, and tendons, connects and supports the joint at your arm and shoulder. The anatomy of the rotatory cuff comprises of 4 main muscles, the infraspinatus, subscapularis, supraspinatus, and teres minor, which are joined by tendons to your shoulder bones, the scapula, humerus, and clavicle. All these parts function together to stabilize and provide movement to the shoulder, and can sustain painful injury when overworked. Repetitive heavy lifting or overhead movements can irritate and overtax your rotator cuff, as well as progressive degeneration in the tissues, bone spur formation in your shoulder, or even gradual ageing. Physiotherapy treatment is very often helpful in repairing and regaining strength in your shoulder. Chiropractors and physiotherapists have a lot of experience with treating rotator cuff injuries and can help you ease the pain and fix the injury.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

The number one occurring symptom of rotator cuff injuries is pain that usually burdens the front and outer shoulder areas. Certain movements and positions may make a rotator cuff injury even more painful than it already is, so it’s important to limit mobility as much as possible if you’re experiencing substantial pain in your shoulder and even arm. Furthermore, inflammation in the joint can cause discomfort to the rotator cuff due to fluid accumulation. Arthritis that may have developed over time in your shoulder or built up calcium deposits can also be the source of pain in your rotator cuff. Numerous tests have been developed to identify the source of damage and pain in the rotator cuff. The tests induce muscle contractions to examine the weakest muscle in the rotator cuff. There are 3 different types of assessments that are designed to specifically test each of the 4 rotator cuff muscles, including the Jobe, Patte, and Gerber tests. X-rays are also an effective method of diagnosing potentially deeper-rooted problems like arthritis or calcification in the shoulder and along the tendons, or broken bones.

Rotator Cuff Treatment

There are various grades of strains that you can sustain from a rotator cuff injury, but no matter how extreme, the injury should be treated with care. Whether you are suffering from an acute tear, chronic tear, or Tendinitis, depending on the severity, you can perform self-treatments or get professional help. Tendinitis is more prevalent in older patients due to the natural ageing and degeneration of muscles, whereas those who play sports or have jobs that require strenuous overhead movements commonly experience chronic tears. The ultimate goal in treating a rotator cuff injury caused by such repetitive trauma is to stop the pain. Icing to the area and medication such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to ease inflammation can soothe pain. It’s also crucial to rest your shoulder to prevent further damage. Slings can be a particularly useful way of immobilizing your shoulder and thereby rotator cuff, but be cautious as too much rest may potentially result in even more motion loss due to stiffness. More extreme measures may have to be taken if the injury is more serious. It is imperative that you get professional medical attention if the movement of your shoulder is highly impaired. Physical therapy is often helpful in repairing and regaining strength in your shoulder, but in extreme circumstances, one may require surgery from an orthopaedic surgeon.

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