How to treat rotator cuff injury
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the joint of the shoulders and keeps the head of the upper arm bone safely within the thin socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can also cause a dull ache that can be felt in the shoulder, and becomes worse when sleeping on the affected side.
Rotator cuff injuries happen in people that are performing overhead motions used in certain jobs or sports such as carpenters, painters and people playing baseball or tennis. The risk of rotator cuff injuries worsen as the person ages.
People who are recovering from a rotator cuff injury are doing some physical therapy exercises in order to improve the flexibility and strength of the muscles that are surrounding the joints of the shoulder. Severe rotator cuff injuries that cause tears on the muscle tendons would require surgical repair.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury
- Disturbing sleeping, especially when lying on the affected shoulder
- Weakness of the arms
- Difficulty in combing the hair or reaching behind the back
- There is a dull ache that can be felt deep in the shoulder.
Causes of rotator cuff injuries
- Lifting or pulling an object that is heavy or lifting it incorrectly such as overhead which can cause straining or tearing of the tendons and muscles.
- Doing monotonous overhead motion of the arms will add stress the rotator cuff muscles as well as tendons and will cause inflammation and tearing.
- Falling and using the arm in breaking a fall can cause bruising and tearing of a rotator cuff tendon and muscles.
- An overgrowth of bone or bone spur can happen on the shoulder blade that protrudes over the rotator cuff and this growth can cause irritation and damage the tendons.
Treatment and home remedies
- Get plenty of rest, stop doing activities that causes the pain and avoid painful movements and avoid doing an overhead activity until the shoulder pain is totally healed.
- Place an ice pack on the affected area, especially the top or back of the shoulder for 15 minutes every waking time during the first 24 hours. In the next 24 hours, place the ice compress on the affected areas for 15 minutes during the two-hour period in order to minimize swelling and pain. If you want to learn more about cold therapy, click here.
- When the icing rehab is already finished, place a hot compress or a heating pad on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 hours in order to improve the circulation.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen.
- Perform some light exercises in order to increase the range of motion such as making clockwise circles with the shoulders at least 15 to 20 minutes. If there is no pain, perform counter clockwise circles of the shoulders.