A Rotator Cuff Injury affects the muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. The Rotator Cuff Muscles function to keep the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. The muscles are named, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Subscapularis, and Teres minor. The rotator cuff muscles interlock to work as a unit. They help to stabilise the shoulder joint and also help with shoulder joint movement.
What are the symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injury? The main symptoms are pain in and around the shoulder joint and painful movement of the shoulder. If there has been an injury, the pain may come on suddenly. Pain is worst when you use your arm for activities above your shoulder level. This means that the pain can affect your ability to lift your arm up – for example, to comb your hair or dress yourself. Swimming, basketball and painting can be painful but writing and typing may produce little in the way of pain. Pain may also be worse at night and affect sleep.
Occasionally your shoulder or arm may also feel weak and you may have reduced movement in your shoulder. Some people feel clicking or catching when they move their shoulder.
How are rotator cuff disorders diagnosed? Your Physio aims to find out what is causing your rotator cuff disorder just by talking to you and examining your shoulder. They usually start by asking questions about your shoulder. These questions may include when your shoulder problems started, whether you have had any specific injury and what aggravates your shoulder problem.
They will then perform an examination of your shoulders. This usually involves moving your shoulder in various positions and comparing it with the unaffected side. They will also examine your neck, as neck can sometimes cause pain in your shoulder.
Occasionally, your Physio may suggest a scan of your shoulder to rule out other causes of shoulder pain.
What helps? Many people make a full recovery from rotator cuff injuries with physiotherapy. Although the injured tissues may always be damaged, a good recovery will see restoration of full function. Physiotherapists provide a range of exercises that improve flexibility, co-ordination and strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. Extensive rotator cuff tears may require surgical repair, transfer of alternative tendons or joint replacement.
What cause a Rotator Cuff injury? A Rotator cuff injury can occur from Trauma, Overuse or Degeneration. Rotator Cuff Injuries’ are often seen in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports. Examples include painters, carpenters, and people who play baseball or tennis. The risk of rotator cuff injury also increases with age. If Rotator Cuff Injuries’ occur as a result of a single injury, medical care (physiotherapy) should be provided as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about your shoulder pain call 66727355 (Coffs), 66586111 (Sawtell/Toormina) or book online