Rotator Cuff Injury

What is a rotator cuff?

The is the main joint in the shoulder. It is made up of muscles and tendons that keep the "ball" of your upper-arm bone (humerus) in your shoulder socket. It also helps you raise and rotate your arm.

Signs and Symptoms

  • dull ache in the shoulder

  • pain that disturbs sleep, particularly if sleeping on side of injury

  • arm weakness

  • difficulty combing hair or reaching backpack

Causes

Rotator cuff injuries usually occur in people who do repetitive motions with the arms about their heads. Professions and activities prone to these types of injuries include construction workers, painters, carpenters, baseball players, tennis players, etc. Also, after the age of 40, risk for rotator cuff tears increases significantly. 

The Medical Approach

  • steroid injections into the shoulder joint to reduce pain

  • physical therapy to strengthen muscles around injury

  • surgery including arthroscopic repair, open tendon repair, bone spur removal, tendon transfer, shoulder replacement.

The Non-Medical Approach 

Rest and ice to can help reduce inflammation. The body needs time to heal the tissue and reabsorb the fluid that was used to remove damaged tissue. Applying ice can help to mediate the pain without stopping the important inflammation cascade of the acute healing process. Slow, low-impact stretching and exercises can help to regain strength and range of motion while allowing for swelling to go down internally. 

The Chiropractic Approach 

The chiropractic adjustment has both direct and indirect implications for someone suffering from a rotator cuff injury. Directly, some chiropractors specialize in extremity work and can analyze the severity of the injury, and possibly adjust the shoulder joint into a position optimum for healing. Indirectly, but equally important, all chiropractors will be able to identify vertebral subluxations that may be interfering with the specific nerves controlling the rotator cuff muscles. By restoring proper nerve connection, the body will better heal the joint without deficits of motion or coordination or strength. The nerves that control the rotator cuff muscles are the C5-T1 nerves, and can be affected by adjustments to the mid-to-lower neck and upper back.  

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