Rotator Cuff Tear

Understanding Rotator Cuff Tear Injuries

Shoulder injuries involving a rotator cuff tear are common in my San Diego chiropractic office, this is because these muscles are small and easily strained (strain means that some fibers have torn).  Sports injuries work injuries and auto accidents commonly cause strains in the rotator cuff muscles.

The muscles of the rotator cuff coordinate rotational movements of the shoulder.  There are four rotator cuff muscles as follows: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and the subscapularis.  The supraspinatus works to lift your arm off the site of your body and it is the most frequently injured of the rotator cuff muscles.  The infraspinatus and teres minor both externally rotate your shoulder.  Finally, the subscapularis works to internally rotate your shoulder.

Although the supraspinatus is the most frequently injured rotator cuff muscle, a strain of any of these muscles can cause shoulder pain and significant range of motion loss in the affected shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Tear Injuries Heal Faster With Early Treatment

It is important to get examined as soon as possible following a shoulder injury.  Delays in treatment can result in excessive scar tissue formation, atrophy of the muscle, weakening of the tendon and increase the chances of the need for a surgical repair.  In most cases a physical exam can pinpoint which muscle was injured and the severity of the rotator cuff tear.  A good physical exam will help determine whether or not more testing is needed (such as an MRI) and which type of therapy will be the most helpful for your specific type of injury.

In order to heal correctly, rotator cuff tear injuries require the right amount of therapy combined with the right amount of rest and a healthy dose of patience.  Over the years I have seen many of my patients re-injure their shoulders near the end of their treatment because they could not limit their activities.   A rotator cuff tear can take a long time to heal and can be easily re-strained towards the end of the healing process during the time when the pain is decreasing and the range of motion is nearing normal.

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Author: Allison Yardley

Allison has 5 years in practice as a Chiropractor's Assistant and is a licensed Massage Therapist who writes for numerous blogs online. Feel free to comment or ask questions regarding any of Alley's blog posts.