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Rotator Cuff Injuries

What Is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is made up of 4 tendons and muscles in your shoulder joint that keep your humerus (upper arm bone)  in your shoulder socket. The tendons can become irritated or torn, leading to a rotator cuff injury. These are most common in those who perform repetitive motions like heavy lifting or using their arms overhead on a regular basis.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury

If you have a rotator cuff injury, the pain might:

  • Affect your sleep, especially if you lie on the problem shoulder
  • Make it hard to reach behind your back or comb your hair
  • Also include arm weakness
  • Feel like a dull ache deep in the shoulder

Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries

There are three different types of rotator cuff injuries, and each type can range from mild to severe. The types of rotator cuff injuries include:

  • Rotator cuff strains or tears. These can be caused by a sudden injury, like a car accident, or they can be caused by overuse. A rotator cuff tear or strain (overstretch) happens to the tendons connecting your shoulder muscles to bones. A tear can be partial, or the entire tendon may be torn.
  • Tendinitis is inflammation of tendons caused by overusing the rotator cuff and is common in people who need to move their arms above shoulder height, like painters and tennis players.
  • Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs that protect the shoulder bones from the muscles and tendons in your rotator cuff.

Rotator Cuff Injury Causes

Rotators cuff injuries can be caused by either a sudden injury, like a car accident, or a repetitive motion injury that leads to gradual degeneration of the tendons.

Risk Factors for Rotator Cuff Injuries

Anybody can suffer from a rotator cuff injury, but people who are at higher risk include those who:

  • Are 40 or older.
  • Play certain sports like archery, tennis, or baseball (especially pitchers).
  • Work construction jobs that involve overhead repetitive arm movements like carpenters or house painters.
  • Have a family history of rotator cuff injuries.

Complications of Rotator Cuff Injuries

Left untreated, a rotator cuff injury can lead to permanent weakness or loss of motion, and the shoulder joint may continue to worsen over time. A little bit of rest for a sore joint is good, but resting your injured shoulder too much can result in a frozen shoulder, where the connective tissue around the joint may become tight and thickened.

Rotator Cuff Injury Diagnosis and Treatment

A doctor can often diagnose a rotator cuff injury based on a physical exam, although your doctor may also perform additional tests such as:

  • X-rays to check for other potential causes for your pain like arthritis or bone spurs
  • Ultrasound to look at the condition of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at your shoulder structures in greater detail

Treatment for rotator cuff injuries may vary depending on the type and severity of your injury. Potential treatments may include:

  • Rest your shoulder and avoid overhead activity or heavy lifting until the pain lessens
  • Ice your shoulder for 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours for a few days to reduce swelling; then you can switch to heatto reduce pain and relax sore muscles
  • Take OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve)
  • Physical therapy to improve the strength and flexibility in your affected shoulder
  • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Surgery to repair or replace the damaged part(s) of the rotator cuff
  • Chiropractic care to restore mobility and improve range of motion

Chiropractic care for rotator cuff injuries

Chiropractors have a wide variety of treatment options available to help relieve pain and improve your range of motion. Chiropractic treatment for a rotator cuff injury may include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Bracing
  • Stretching
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Massage therapy
  • Electro-muscular stimulation
  • Ultrasound

CLICK HERE or call Southside Chiropractic Car Injury Clinic today at 904-497-0823 to schedule a consultation to see if we can help relieve your rotator cuff injury symptoms.

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