Synergy Health Partners

Rotator cuff injuries: What to know and how to tell if you should see a doctor

The rotator cuff consists of a group of muscles and tendons that come together above your shoulder joint and upper arm bone, and it is a part of the human anatomy that is critically important to arm movement.

A rotator cuff injury can limit your ability to lift and rotate your arms, and because those motions happen in almost every task, the pain and symptoms often reduce your quality of life.

What symptoms will I feel if my rotator cuff is injured?

Pain is generally a good indicator that something is wrong, but it’s also wise to note when normal movements or job duties become more difficult due to weakness or limited mobility. Here are six things to pay attention to:

· A dull pain deep in the shoulder

· Difficulty reaching above your head or behind your back

· Hear clicking or popping when you move your arm

· Struggle to lift items like normal

· Sleep disturbance when you lie on the hurt shoulder

· Arm weakness

What are the risk factors for rotator cuff injuries?

Rotator cuff injuries are often sustained with a severe impact or from a degeneration of the area from wear and tear of the tendon. Repetitive activity and sustained heavy lifting impact the muscles and tendons that form the cuff. These risk factors influence rotator cuff injuries:

· Age: Risk increases as you age and are frequently seen after 40.

· Sports: Frequent and consistent overuse in baseball, tennis and bowling wear on the rotator cuff.

· Employment: Repetitive motions in construction and factory related jobs are often cited as the cause of rotator cuff injuries.

· Genetics: Your family history may play a role in suffering an injury.

Should I see a doctor?

Soreness and swelling can develop at any time and shouldn’t necessarily be a red flag. If the disturbance doesn’t go away in several days, gets worse or affects your daily routine, it’s time to consult a specialist for a diagnosis. Don’t underestimate the extent of the injury and wave it off by treating it as a nuisance. You can make it worse by putting off an evaluation.

What are my rotator cuff repair options?

Physicians treating rotator cuff injuries typically turn to four treatments, which are based on severity of the problem and what will be most effective for your shoulder.

· Rest and altering activities

· Anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections

· Physical therapy to build strength

· Surgical options

Your road to recovery starts with a proper diagnosis and an individual treatment plan that Mendelson Kornblum can design based on your lifestyle.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, contact Mendelson Kornblum today to find a solution.


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