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Rotator Cuff Injuries

Overview 

  • The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of the upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder that worsens at night.
  • Rotator cuff injuries are common and increase with age. These injuries may occur earlier in people who have jobs that require repeatedly performing overhead motions, such as painters and carpenters.
  • Physical therapy exercises can improve flexibility and strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. For many people with rotator cuff problems, these exercises are all that’s needed to manage their symptoms.
  • Sometimes, rotator cuff tears may occur from a single injury. In those circumstances, people should seek medical advice quickly because they might need surgery.

Symptoms 

The pain associated with a rotator cuff injury may:

  • Be described as a dull ache deep in the shoulder
  • Disturb sleep
  • Make it difficult to comb your hair or reach behind your back
  • Be accompanied by arm weakness

Some rotator cuff injuries don’t cause pain.

Causes

  • Rotator cuff injuries are most often caused by progressive wear and tear of the tendon tissue over time. 

  • Repetitive overhead activity or prolonged bouts of heavy lifting can irritate or damage the tendon. 

  • The rotator cuff can also be injured in a single incident during falls or accidents.

Risk factors

The following factors may increase the risk of having a rotator cuff injury:

  • Age. The risk of a rotator cuff injury increases with age. Rotator cuff tears are most common in people older than 60.

  • Some occupations. Jobs that require repetitive overhead arm motions, such as carpentry or house painting, can damage the rotator cuff over time.

  • Certain sports. Some types of rotator cuff injuries are more common in people who participate in sports like baseball, tennis and weight-lifting.

  • Family history. There may be a genetic component involved with rotator cuff injuries as they appear to occur more commonly in certain families.

Diagnosis

During the physical exam, health care providers will press on different parts of the affected shoulder and move your arm into different positions. They’ll also test the strength of the muscles around your shoulder and in your arms.

Imaging tests may include:

  • X-rays. Although a rotator cuff tear won’t show up on an X-ray, this test can visualize bone spurs or other potential causes for your pain — such as arthritis.

  • Ultrasound. This type of test uses sound waves to produce images of structures within your body, particularly soft tissues such as muscles and tendons. It allows a provider to assess the structures of your shoulder during movement. It also allows a quick comparison between the affected shoulder and the healthy shoulder.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technology uses radio waves and a strong magnet. The images obtained display all structures of the shoulder in great detail.

Our expert providers are experienced and skilled at treating rotator cuff injuries and are your source for expert treatment of rotator cuff injuries in Westminster and Denver Colorado. Not only are we the premier treatment for spine injuries and chiropractic in Westminster and Denver Colorado, but we also specialize in many other advanced treatment techniques such as shockwave, cold laser, graston technique, KT Taping, activator, instrument aided spinal alignments, drop table, toggle, in house rehab services, and on site digital xrays. We are your Premier destination for rotator cuff injury treatment in Westminster Colorado and Denver Colorado Chiropractor.