Did you know that the shoulder joint is stabilized by a group of four tendons called the rotator cuff? These tendons play a crucial role in the movement and stability of the shoulder.
However, if one or more of these tendons get injured, it can lead to a rotator cuff tear. A rotator cuff tear can cause pain, weakness, and limited mobility in the affected shoulder. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect a rotator cuff tear to prevent further damage.
Rotator cuff tears can happen suddenly, such as from a fall or a direct blow to the shoulder, or they can develop gradually over time due to overuse or repetitive motion.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear
The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear can vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, some common symptoms include:
- Pain in the shoulder, especially when raising the arm overhead
- Weakness in the shoulder
- Stiffness in the shoulder
- Clicking or popping in the shoulder
- Difficulty sleeping on the affected side
Causes of a rotator cuff tear
There are many causes of a rotator cuff tear, but the most common are:
- Age: Rotator cuff tears are more common in people over the age of 60. This is because the tendons in the rotator cuff can weaken and tear over time.
- Overuse: Rotator cuff tears can also be caused by overuse of the shoulder. This can happen in people who participate in activities that require repetitive overhead motions, such as swimming, tennis, or baseball.
- Injury: Rotator cuff tears can also be caused by a sudden injury to the shoulder, such as a fall or a direct blow.
- Degenerative changes: Rotator cuff tears can also be caused by degenerative changes in the shoulder joint. These changes can weaken the tendons and make them more likely to tear.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also increase the risk of rotator cuff tears.
The Most Effective Rotator Cuff Tear Treatments
An untreated tear to the rotator cuff can cause pain, weakness, and discomfort around the shoulder. Like with most afflictions, knowledge is power regarding treatment options, so we have compiled some helpful information outlining a few of your home remedies for symptoms of this common injury.
Treatment & Home Remedies
Heat or Cold Therapy
Regarding elbow injuries and therapy, heat and cold therapies are very different. Cold therapy is a cold compress that works immediately because it numbs pain, reduces swelling, and cuts off the pain signal. Applying a cold therapy pack during the first three days after an acute injury is best.
On the other hand, heat increases blood flow by increasing blood vessels in an area. Heat therapy with a herbal heating pad is extremely beneficial because it soothes soreness! The blood flow may increase swelling, but you should wait until all initial swelling has subsided before using it to prevent further infliction of damage.
SACKSY THYME Hot Therapy Relief heating Pad for Rotator Cuff Tear:
Here are some additional tips for using heat and cold therapy for rotator cuff tears:
- Do not apply heat or cold directly to the skin.
- Do not apply heat or cold for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Do not apply heat or cold if the skin is broken.
- See a doctor if the pain worsens or does not improve with heat or cold therapy.
A rotator cuff injury can be caused by repetitive stress on the tendons of the rotator cuff. Shoulder inflammation and pain are typically experienced during movements that place excess stress on this area, such as overhead lifting or strenuous arm use. In many cases, resting the shoulder will reduce swelling and improve the range of motion in the area.
Attempt to rest for several days or weeks before moving forward with normal activity to avoid further tendon damage. Aside from resting, there are several other ways you can prevent further tendon tears from occurring over time, such as avoiding activities that cause injuries in the first place and examining your current habits and equipment to find better alternatives.
If you are suffering from shoulder pain, over-the-counter medications can help provide you with hope and a new sense of normality. Anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen and naproxen will kill off the swelling in your shoulders and ease any pain on your nerves.
You'll find the most benefit by combining them with the other treatments we listed above, so make sure you schedule yourself some physical activity and avoid getting stuck in front of the TV for too long!
Before trying anything new, it is important to get a recommendation for taking these meds from your doctor!
Steroid injections are one treatment option that may help you manage your pain level. These injections are done in the doctor's office and have little to no downtime, and many patients find relieving effects afterward. However, this is only one treatment option on offer, so talk to your doctor about your options and ensure you understand them before signing up!
A physical therapist can help you strengthen your shoulder muscles and improve your overall function through stretching. Your physical therapist will perform a physical examination to determine the best movements for healing your injury. Once you’re better, they can modify the treatment plan to provide continued relief and ensure no pain or re-injury to the injured area.
With proper treatment, most people with rotator cuff tears can fully recover. However, listening to your body and rest when necessary is important. See a doctor if the pain is severe or does not improve with treatment.
Surgeries for Torn Rotator Cuffs
Most people with rotator cuff injuries can get better independently and do not need surgery. However, surgery will likely be helpful if you are still experiencing severe pain and weakness after six months to a year of conservative home treatments (like physical therapy ).
Surgery is also used in patients with a large tear, significant shoulder weakness, or loss of function. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon to decide what is best for your situation.
An arthroscopic shoulder surgery refers to a minor surgical procedure used on the shoulder that uses an arthroscope, which is a tiny camera inserted into the joint.
The surgeon will then perform any necessary repairs using small incisions, and rather than sutures, stitches are used for closure. This is the assigned treatment for pain relief with shoulder impingement syndrome.
The mini-open repair uses an incision approximately 3cm to 5cm long. You can even appreciate the surgeon's work through an arthroscopy! The doctor does use arthroscopy to perform some of these surgical repairs.
The surgeon will finish the repair through the mini-open incision when the arthroscopic portion is complete. This allows him to see what he's doing and ensure it's just right and not curving inwards badly.
Open repair surgery is a surgical procedure used to treat rotator cuff injuries. If the injury is large or complex in severity, these procedures are sometimes recommended by surgeons. They provide surgeons with a larger incision to view and access the involved tissues more easily than during arthroscopic surgery.
Because of this, an open repair will generally perform better than a closed one, providing greater visualization of tissues. An open repair involves placing a suturing needle into injured tendons and attaching them back onto either the upper arm bone or their original spot on the bone (if it's completely torn).
While no one can predict the future, there are certain steps that you can take to help prevent your rotator cuff from tearing. Here's how:
- Warm up before exercising: Warming up before exercising can help to prevent injuries.
- Cool down after exercising: Cooling down after exercising can also help to prevent injuries.
- Wear supportive shoes: Shoes that provide good arch support can help reduce shoulder stress.
- Avoid activities that stress your shoulders: If you have shoulder pain, avoid activities that aggravate the pain.
- Strengthen your shoulder muscles: Strong shoulder muscles can help support your shoulders and prevent injuries.
- Stretch regularly: Stretching your shoulder muscles can help keep them flexible and less likely to get injured.
- Listen to your body: If you feel pain, stop and rest. Don't push yourself too hard.
Here are some additional tips for preventing rotator cuff tears:
- If you participate in activities that require repetitive overhead motions, such as swimming, tennis, or baseball, be sure to warm up properly and cool down afterward.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects overhead.
- If you have a job requiring you to lift heavy objects, use proper lifting techniques.
- If you have a medical condition that increases your risk of rotator cuff tears, such as rheumatoid arthritis, talk to your doctor about ways to manage and reduce your risk of injury.
Following these tips can help prevent rotator cuff tears and keep your shoulders healthy.
Effective Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment
Torn rotator cuffs occur commonly in people who do a lot of overhead activities or are involved in contact sports. The most typical home treatment for this condition is anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce swelling and pain. If you're worried that your pain is still not improving, it's best to get evaluated by a professional healthcare provider to determine other options.
These can include physical therapy, steroid injections, or surgical repair, depending on the extent of the injury. If you've tried these first two treatment options with no relief, talk to your doctor about the next steps that might improve mobility and get you back out there enjoying all the activities you love so much!