A rotator cuff injury can cause permanent pain and disability if not correctly treated.
Here is what you need to know.
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that work together to hold your shoulder joint in place. Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint, but the ball is relatively large and the socket is relatively shallow. This can allow your shoulder to easily be dislocated or have the ball slip out of the socket. The four muscles of the rotator cuff help to prevent this dislocation.
•Rotator Cuff Tears
•Strains and Sprains
Rotator Cuff Tears
The most severe type of rotator cuff injury is a rotator cuff tear. These can occur suddenly or develop gradually over time. The severity of a rotator cuff tear can vary from a minor partial tear with only minimal pain and disability to a complete care with dramatic pain and weakness.
The First Sign is Pain
The first sign of a rotator cuff tear is usually pain. Many people can treat as with over the counter pain medications and they find the pain tolerable. But there is a risk. When you ignore the first signs of pain you risk having a minor problem turn into a major problem.
A rotator cuff tear can occur suddenly with heavy lifting in an awkward position. People usually report sudden severe intense pain and inability to raise their arm.
Caused by a Bone Spur
Another common cause of a rotator cuff tear that can develop gradually is a bone spur at the joint where your collarbone connects to your shoulder. This may scrape up on the rotator cuff muscle until the end weakens and tears.
When you think you have a rotator cuff tear, you need to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon who can determine if you need surgery to repair the rotator cuff.
Rotator Cuff Sprains and Strains
Strains and sprains of the rotator cuff most commonly occur with repetitive use. This can happen when you start a new job or make changes in your home that require you to reach out and lift at arm's length.
This does not require a lot of weight to injure your rotator cuff. It is the fact that you are doing it over and over and putting stress on the muscles that causes the injury.
When you have a rotator cuff sprain or strain this should an issue we be treated with rest and avoiding be reaching activities that you think may be causing the pain. When your pain starts to improve you could start doing some easy stretching and strengthening exercises to make the muscles stronger. Then you could try to gradually return to full activity.
Shoulder Bursitis may not technically be a rotator cuff injury but it is definitely related. The shoulder bursa is a fluid filled sack that lies between the shoulder bones and the rotator cuff muscles. This sack or bursa allows the muscles to slide smoothly over the bones when you move your shoulder.
When the bursa becomes swollen or inflamed it is called bursitis. This can occur with an injury such as a fall onto your shoulder or with repetitive use. Because the bursa lies between the muscles and the bones when it becomes swollen it can cause increased pain and pressure that can get worse with any shoulder motion.
Shoulder bursitis can be treated with rest and over time will usually resolve. More commonly these are treated with a steroid injection from your doctor. The steroid medication will relieve the swelling and inflammation but you may have to limit your activity to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Prevent Permanent Disability
Whenever you have shoulder pain or think you may have a rotator cuff injury you need to see your doctor. He can examine you and perhaps order an x-ray or MRI to determine an exact diagnosis and begin the appropriate treatment.
This will be the quickest and easiest way to return to full activity and prevent any permanent disability.