The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons located in the shoulder. The main function of the rotator cuff is to provide stability and facilitate movements of the shoulder joint. The four muscles that make up the rotator cuff are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Rotator cuff injuries are a common cause of shoulder pain. Due to its anatomical location, the rotator cuff is susceptible to injuries and degenerative changes, which can cause pain, weakness, and restricted shoulder mobility. The most common injury involves the supraspinatus tendon, which assists in abduction and external rotation of the shoulder.
CAUSES OF ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES:
- Trauma: direct impact or lifting heavy objects can cause tears in the rotator cuff tendons.
- Overuse and repetitive motion: continuous overhead arm movements can lead to wear and tear on the rotator cuff.
- Age-related degeneration: the tendons in the rotator cuff can weaken and become more susceptible to injury as we age.
- Poor posture: prolonged poor posture can lead to imbalances and stress on the shoulder joint.
SYMPTOMS OF ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES:
- Shoulder pain that is aggravated when lifting or reaching overhead.
- Weakness with difficulty when lifting objects or raising the arm.
- Limited range of motion of the shoulder joint.
- Clicking or popping sensations when moving the shoulder joint.
DIAGNOSING ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES:
- Review of medical history and physical examination
- Imaging modalities: MRI or ultrasound
- Diagnostic injection into the shoulder joint
TREATING ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES:
Treatment options may include:
- Short-term rest
- Icing or heat therapy
- Physical therapy
- Over the counter or prescription medications
- Therapeutic injections: steroid injections, regenerative injections
- Surgical intervention
PREVENTING ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES:
- Maintaining proper posture and body mechanics during activities
- Incorporating shoulder-strengthening exercises
Rotator cuff injuries can range from minor discomfort to significant pain and functional impairment. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for optimal recovery. If you suspect a rotator cuff injury or experience persistent shoulder pain, contact us for a consultation with one of our providers at Remedy Pain Solutions.