Rotator Cuff Injury Overview
The rotator cuff is the area surrounding the shoulder joint comprised of muscles and tendons that help support and keep the upper arm bone within the shoulder socket. A rotator cuff injury causes pain or discomfort in the shoulder area; a condition which can get worse with movement and feel tender when pressure is applied.
Rotator cuff injuries are most commonly caused by repetetive motion putting undue strain on the shoulder. Common activities that may cause this would be painting, playing baseball or playing tennis.
Many people recover from rotator cuff injuries through physical therapy, however in the case of a sudden or moderate to severe damage the injury should be assesed by a medical professional soon after the injury to ensure proper healing.
Rotator Cuff Injury may also be known as Rotator Cuff Damage, Rotator Cuff Tear, Rotator Cuff Repair.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injury
Some symptoms to watch out for to determine if you may have injured your rotator cuff would be a dull ache deep in the shoulder, trouble sleeping due to laying on the shoulder, difficulting perfomring tasks such as combing your hair or reaching behind your back and potential weakness in the arm of the affected shoulder.
Take symptoms seriously. In serious cases you will need to see a shoulder specialist and some treatment options are time sensitive.
- Muscle weakness in the shoulder
- Have trouble raising your arm
- Hear clicking or popping when you move your arm
Rotator Cuff Injury Causes
A rotator cuff injury may be caused by a single high impact trauma or it may be caused by performing a repetitive task which has worn the rotator cuff down to the point of injury. Sometime bone spurs can develop around the injury increasing the soreness and seriousness.
- Repetitive Joint Movements
- Recent Injury or Fall.
- As you get older, your risk of a rotator cuff injury increases. Rotator cuff tears are most common in people older than 40.
- History of Repeated Injury
Rotator Cuff Injury Treatments
In some cases resting and ice mixed in with physical therapy is all that it takes to recover from a rotator cuff injury. However, in some cases surgery may be required if the rotator cuff is damaged badly.
Injections are another option for treatment should more conservative approaches fail and you are not ready for surgery. The steroid injections help to reduce the swelling and soreness associated with the injury making sleeping and other activities more bearable. Be forewarned though that in some cases getting injections can weaken the area over time further complicating the injury.
- Ice Packs
- Non steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs help to relieve inflammation
- Acetaminophen, Tylenol or other over the counter pain reliver to relieve pain