What are Rotator Cuff Injuries?
The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. Its function is to keep the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket in the shoulder.
Rotator cuff injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports. Athletes prone to rotator cuff injuries include swimmers, tennis players, cricket players (especially bowlers). Jobs that are prone include painters and carpenters. Other reasons for an injury include falling on the shoulder, using an arm to break a fall, lifting heave weights or objects. As well, there may be a genetic component involved with rotator cuff injuries, as they appear to occur more commonly in the same families. The risk of rotator cuff injury also increases with age due to progressive degeneration or wear and tear of the tendon tissue and can onset as a result of inflammation in the joint due to poor nutrition and degenerative effects.
What are the symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injuries?
The pain associated with a rotator cuff injury may be:
- Dull ache deep in the shoulder
- Disturbed sleep, particularly if you lie on the affected shoulder
- Difficulty brushing your hair or reach behind your back
- Weakness in the arm
What are the complications of Rotator Cuff Injuries?
Without treatment, rotator cuff injuries may lead to permanent stiffness or weakness and may result in further progressive degeneration of the shoulder joint. Although resting your shoulder is necessary for your recovery, keeping your shoulder immobilized for a prolonged time can cause the connective tissue enclosing the joint to become thickened and tight resulting in ‘frozen shoulder’. This then has a further impact on the neck / scalene muscles as result of over compensation. Therefore the body recruits the neck muscles to stabilize or rotate the shoulder which leads to compression of the neck muscles.
What is the best treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries?
Depending on the extent of the rotator cuff injury treatment of these injuries differs and in my experience as a therapist, the body responds better to very specific rehabilitation exercises where this injury is concerned. The rotator cuff is made of five muscles that I would work with in isolation to strengthen, rehabilitate and if necessary provide soft tissue work or ultra sound therapy.
If there is an element of inflammation in the joint then I would discuss nutrition, supplementation and a variety of other means of getting rid of joint inflammation.
Rotator cuff injury treatment is very “injury” specific and I personally would tailor the treatment to each person. Not all rotator cuff injuries are the same and this is why it is important to have a professional assess the injury and then provide you with some specific rehabilitation and treatment accordingly.
All of which are available at our clinic at Shelley Manor Medical Centre.
Contact Amanda to discuss your options on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01202 443892 to book your appointment with Amanda or Rachel.