Shrugging Off Rotator Cuff Injuries

Just think about how many times you lift your arms a day—reaching for the cereal in the cupboard, pulling on a shirt, washing your hair, waving to a friend, the list goes on. So what happens when your shoulder gets injured and you feel it every time you do any of those activities? Well, basically, you experience a pain-filled day, all day, every day. Rotator cuff injuries can seriously inhibit your lifestyle, so physical therapy is important in order to return to normal function as soon as possible. With our help, you’ll be “raising the roof” in no time.

Shouldering the Pain

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. Its job is to keep the top of your arm bone in the socket of your shoulder. Injury to the area can result in a dull, aching pain deep within the shoulder, accompanied by weakness in the arm. This makes any kind of overhead movement difficult, and can disturb sleep if one is used to laying on his or her side.

Raise Your Arm if You’re at Risk

This injury mostly happens to people who repeatedly use overhead motions either in sports or in their jobs like carpenters, painters, or basketball, baseball, and tennis players. The risk increases with age as well. It can also occur if you use your arm to break a fall or lift something that’s too heavy. Still, another culprit is a bone spur. This is an overgrowth of bone that can protrude from the shoulder blade and damage the rotator cuff.

The Doctor Will See You Now

Rotator cuff injuries need to be addressed, since inflammation can eventually lead to tearing, increasing the seriousness of the situation. You can expect the doctor to press on different parts of your shoulder and move your arm into various positions. The strength of your arm will likely be tested as well. In some cases, X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRIs may be administered to get a closer look at potential causes of pain, including broken bones, bone spurs, and tissue damage.

Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation

If the injury is severe and involves a tendon tear or bone spurs, your shoulder may require surgical repair. Otherwise, ice and anti-inflammatory medicine can help with pain and swelling. Use a cold pack for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours. After several days, if pain diminishes, a heating pad can relax tight and sore muscles. Rest is essential. Avoid movement and lifting. Physical therapy exercises will assist in restoring strength, flexibility, and function. Continuing these daily will help prevent injuries in the future.

If you’ve been experiencing pain in your shoulder and having difficulty lifting your arm, don’t just shrug it off. Dr. Jennifer Molner can assist you in planning an exercise routine and help you recover from your rotator cuff injury. Call (303) 805-5156 for an appointment today at Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy here in Castle Pines and Cherry Creek, CO. You’ll be lifting, reaching, and waving before you know it!