The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles located in the shoulder that helps to keep your shoulders joint secure.
Injuries to the rotator cuff are typically responsible for most shoulder problems, causing 4.5 million doctor visits per year in total. There are three different types of injuries: partial tears, full-thickness tears and ruptures—the latter being when there is a hole or slit in your tendon like what would be created by running a knife lengthwise down a rope.
Rotator cuff tears are usually the result of a progressive tear, which requires repetitive or excessive use over time. An acute injury like falling, pushing pulling throwing or lifting can lead to an immediate rotator cuff tear but only accounts for less than 10% of all cases.
The repetitive nature of our daily lives can cause injuries to accumulate over time. One such injury is called impingement, which occurs when the rotator cuff tendon becomes compressed by surrounding tissue and bone due to a lack of space in its natural resting place.
Athletes who play sports like baseball, volleyball, tennis and swimming are the ones at risk for impingement and rotator cuff tendon problems. Other forms of risks include smoking, obesity high cholesterol and prior cortisone injection.
An acute rotator cuff injury can cause a snapping or tearing sound, severe pain and weakness.
Chronic shoulder injuries start with symptoms that become more evident as the injury progresses. Symptoms include pain in the front and outside of your shoulder, which may radiate down your arm when aggravated by overhead activity.
You might also experience difficulty raising your arms over head or have frequent neck pains at night while lying on affected area of shoulders. If you suffer from significant neck pain, shortness of breath, chest pressure/pain or dizziness be sure to tell us so we can help!
How To Reduce the Pain
Sleeping on one side can irritate the impacted area and not sleeping with an arm overhead may be helpful. Smokers should stop smoking, maybe even join a program to do so, and overweight patients need to start dieting as well as exercising at home if possible.
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