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Join Airrosti’s Tom Danisiewicz, DC, as he examines the different causes and signs of a rotator cuff injury. You’ll also learn about traditional treatment options and how Airrosti can help relieve rotator cuff pain.
The shoulder joint’s movement and stability are supported by a group of four muscles comprising the rotator cuff. Most rotator cuff disorders are caused by a combination of normal wear and tear and overuse. Over time, your rotator cuff muscles can become damaged or weak from regular use or activity.
Injuries can vary in severity, ranging from a minor muscle or tendon strain that typically heals without permanent damage to a partial or complete muscle tear that may necessitate surgical repair. Impingement can occur when tendons rub against bone due to regular use or excessive strain. This friction damages and irritates the tendons, leading to inflammation.
As you get older, your rotator cuff muscles can fray or thin from everyday activities. Furthermore, engaging in physical tasks with frequent raising of the arms (such as playing tennis, swimming, throwing, lifting, or even painting) can contribute to developing rotator cuff issues. Thus, you may sometimes hear this condition called Tennis Shoulder, Swimmer’s Shoulder, or Pitcher’s Shoulder.
The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury result from the inflammation associated with the strain, which can lead to swelling, pain, and reduced range of motion. Most often, rotator cuff pain can occur on the front and sides of your upper arms or shoulders.
The pain associated with a rotator cuff injury may feel like:
These symptoms can cause a limited range of motion while performing overhead activities or lifting arms, as well as disturb your sleep especially if lying on the affected shoulder. Additionally, you may feel crackling or hear popping if a rotator cuff tear is present. Rotator cuff tear symptoms vary case by case and should best be discussed with a healthcare professional.
Not all shoulder pain stems from the shoulder itself and may sometimes be symptomatic of a more serious problem. The pain caused by a rotator cuff injury becomes more severe when the shoulder is moved. If shoulder pain is present without apparent cause, you should promptly seek medical attention. If there is concern that the pain is coming from the heart, seek emergency medical care.
If your doctor suspects a rotator cuff injury, they may order imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRIs, to determine a diagnosis more accurately. Once diagnosed, it is crucial to seek proper rotator cuff injury treatment. Without treatment, your shoulder may get weaker, and you may develop further complications.
For most rotator cuff disorders, your doctor will recommend rest and modifying activities to help your injury recover. Your doctor may also recommend you take anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, or starting physical therapy. Therapy can help regain mobility and strengthen the affected area through targeted exercises and an active rehab plan.
In most cases, the tendon will heal over time, but traditional treatment may take several months to resolve the injury. If you are older, you may face a longer recovery time. However, if nonsurgical methods fail to reduce pain or promote recovery, steroid injections or surgery may be recommended. You should always consult with a healthcare professional about the best treatment option for the severity of your injury.
Airrosti Providers are skilled at accurately diagnosing your injury, typically without X-rays or imaging tests. Once diagnosed, most injuries are resolved in an average of 3 visits (based on patient-reported outcomes). Airrosti’s goal is to reduce pain and get you back to normal activity as quickly as possible while helping significantly minimize the risk of injury recurrence.
Airrosti’s approach to treatment is a noninvasive and effective option to traditional methods. We can help patients avoid lengthy treatment plans or recovery time, medications and injections, and unnecessary surgical procedures. If you are suffering from a rotator cuff injury, schedule an appointment with Airrosti, either in-clinic or virtually!
For more information, call us at (800) 400-6050.
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