Treating rotator cuff injuries with chiropractic care is common practice in my San Diego Chiropractic clinic. Anyone who has experienced a rotator cuff injury is well aware of how painful and limiting they can be. Treating rotator cuff injuries requires patience and consistency on both the chiropractor’s part and the patient’s part.
Diagnosing Rotator Cuff Injuries
Before treatment of a rotator cuff injury begins, it is vital to diagnose the type of injury and which muscle(s) is/are involved. There are four separate rotator cuff muscles that all perform different movements of the shoulder joint. The muscles and functions of the rotator cuff group are as follows:
- Supraspinatus: Abducts the arm
- Infraspinatus: Laterally (externally) rotates the arm
- Teres Minor: Laterally (externally) rotates the arm
- Subscapularis: Medially (internally) rotates the arm
When one of these muscles is strained or torn, the action that the injured muscle performs is limited, painful or impossible depending on the severity of the injury. The specific rotator cuff muscle that is injured can be identified with specific physical examination procedures. The most commonly injured rotator cuff muscle is the supraspinatus, which lies across the top of the shoulder blade and throws a spindly tendon over the top of the shoulder that attaches on the front lower part of the shoulder.
Treating Rotator Cuff Injuries
Regardless of the specific muscle that was injured, treating rotator cuff injuries depends on the severity of the injury. Injuries that involve tears through more than 50% of the thickness of the muscle or tendon can require surgical repairs. Injuries that involve strains or tears of the muscle that is less than 50% of the muscle’s thickness can be effectively treated with chiropractic therapy.
At my San Diego chiropractic clinic treatment includes adjustments of the joint combined with electrical muscle stimulation, myofascial release (targeted massage) and ultrasound. Patients are encouraged to avoid aggravating activities, use ice packs daily and perform specific exercises and stretches throughout their treatment in order to obtain the fastest and best results.