A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can result in a blunt ache in the shoulder that often aggravates while you try to sleep on the affected side.
This type of injury is a common occurrence for those who regularly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports, for example, painters, carpenters, shotput throwers, etc. The possibility of rotator cuff injury increases with age.
The rotator cuff treatment comprises of comprehensive physical therapy sessions in order to restore elasticity and strength of the muscles and tendons cushioning the shoulder joint. On the other hand, an extensive rotator cuff injury may require surgical repair, transfer of alternative tendons or joint replacement. Let’s take a sneak peek at what causes the condition, how to prevent it, and its treatment options.
Causes of Rotator Cuff Injury
Rotator cuff injury may be the result of either a substantial injury to the shoulder or too advanced disintegration or wear and tear of the tendon tissue. A repeated overhead movement or heavy lifting over an extended period of time may further destruct the tendon.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injury
The pain associated may display the following rotator cuff injury symptoms:
- A dull ache deep in the shoulder,
- Disrupted sleep cycles, especially if you lie on the affected shoulder,
- Difficulty in performing simple activities that involve reaching behind your back, and – Weakness in the arm.
During the rotator cuff injury test, your doctor will apply pressure on various parts of your shoulder and even move your arm into different positions. The strength of the muscles around your shoulder and in your arms shall be evaluated too.
In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays, ultrasounds, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be prescribed as well to rule out any other possibility leading to the condition.
Isometric shoulder exercises and rotator cuff exercises are a must if you are at risk of rotator cuff injuries or if you have had suffered few in the past. These include daily shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises in order to prevent future trouble.
Most patients also exercise the front muscles of the chest, shoulder and upper arm. Your doctor or a physical therapist may prescribe you a suitable exercise routine.
Conventional treatments — such as rest, ice and physical therapy — sometimes are all that is required to remedy your rotator cuff injury and assist you in recovering. Depending on the severity of your trauma, like in case of a total tear of the muscle or tendon, you might need surgery.
To reduce the pain further, steroid injections are recommended. But, physical therapy is the primary choice preferred by doctors. Exercises tailored to the exact position of your rotator cuff injury can help in restoring flexibility and strength to your shoulder. It also plays a significant role during the recovery phase after rotator cuff surgery.
If you suffer from this ailment, now is the right time to pick up your phone and book your appointment with us at Prime Physio Plus Physiotherapy Clinic.