Are you suffering from shoulder pain? If yes, there is a possibility you may have torn your rotator cuff muscle that is generating this pain. This article will discuss details about the rotator cuff muscles and the classic signs and symptoms of torn rotator cuff muscles.
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons supporting shoulder movements and stabilizing your shoulder joint. The rotator cuff surrounds the shoulder joint and keeps the head of your upper arm bone (the humerus ) tightly within the shallow socket of your shoulder. It lets you rotate and lift your arms. Every time you move your shoulder, you are using your rotator cuff complex to stabilize and help move the joint.
If there is a rip or tear in this group of four muscles, then this condition is referred to as a rotator cuff complex tear. It may cause severe pain when you try to lift your shoulder or move your arm. More commonly though, it results in weakness. There are two types of rotator cuff tears. If just one or two of the muscles that form the rotator cuff complex is damaged or frayed, then it is known as partial rotator cuff tear. Likewise, if the tear is extensive and involves the entire muscle-tendon complex, then a full-thickness tear is said to have occurred.
Rotator cuff tears are very common, and they typically increase with age. They are more common in individuals who participate in sports like table tennis, badminton, basketball, baseball, tennis, etc. It can also be an occupational hazard for individuals whose employment involve painting or cleaning windows. Usually, it occurs due to regular wear and tear, or when you repeat the same arm motion consecutively.It can also be associated with a traumatic event when you fall or jarr your arm or shoulder.
Many people who suffer from rotator cuff injuries continue to manage their symptoms at home and get better with regular exercise and physical therapy. At times however, conservative treatment with pain-killers and physiotherapy may not suffice. The patient continues to report weakness and pain with shoulder movement. In such cases, it is best to consult an orthopaedic surgeon regarding the possible treatment options.
You can always feel a torn rotator cuff, but in some cases, you may experience the following symptoms:
There are two main causes of rotator cuff tears
It happens when you fall on your outstretched arm or when you try to lift something that is too heavy. When you jerk your hand to lift something up, it can sometimes result in a rotator cuff tear. This type of rotator cuff tear can also occur along with other injuries like a dislocated shoulder or even a broken collar bone.
These types of tears occur slowly over time due to the fraying of the tendon. As we age, degeneration occurs. Rotator cuff tears mostly occur in your dominant arms. If you have a degenerative tear in one of your shoulders, then there is a fair chance you may have a rotator cuff tear in your opposite shoulder. Sometimes you may not even feel the pain, but the tear may be present.
Some other factors also contribute to the degenerative rotator cuff tears.
If you know that you have a rotator cuff tear, but continue to use that arm despite the pain, then the tear can increase over time and of course, become worse. So, if you are suffering from chronic shoulder and arm pain, it is recommended to see your specialist as early as possible. Dealing with early symptoms can help you to prevent things from getting worse, and it also helps in early and quicker recovery.
There are plenty of treatment options available for the rotator cuff tears and the best option differs for every person. There are several things that a doctor will consider when planning your treatment, such as age, activity level, gender, type of tear, and your general health. Every doctor first tries to treat the rotator cuff tears with physical exercise and therapies such as a shoulder injection. If none of them work, then they may proceed with surgical options. So, basically, there are two types of treatments available for rotator cuff tears.
Almost 80% of the cases of rotator cuff tears can be resolved with nonsurgical treatments. These treatments help in relieving pain and improving the functionality of your shoulder. Nonsurgical treatments may include:
The disadvantages are
If none of the nonsurgical treatments work for you, then your specialist may recommend surgical treatment. If the pain continues to get more severe, then this is an indication that you may need surgery.
Several other factors that indicate surgery may be required :