Rotator Cuff tears, impingements and bursitis
Do you have shoulder pain and not know why? It could be your cuff! Rotator cuff injuries a real pain to have to live with. Being unable to freely put on a jumper, carry a shopping bag, lie on your side, or even brush your teeth, can really take the shine out of the day. In fact, most people in the clinic tell us that it’s the simple activities that they usually take for granted that bother them the most. Playing with the children is no longer fun and throwing a ball for the dog is now just not possible.
We are often told, in the clinic, that the attitude of “it will get better by itself soon” leads to months down the line, somehow making things worse. Neck and upper back pain soon follows as the body tries to adapt to a new pattern of movements to help patients avoid the pain of moving the arm. Shoulder pain becomes a real nuisance and the people around you appear to start to suffer because of the patient’s pain too.
After reading the above, if this is you, then a little bit of knowledge of the shoulder and rotator cuff can go a long way here. Understanding some basic biomechanics and the actions of the rotator cuff muscles can help you to understand what may be going on and how to help yourself…So here it is.
The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and Subscapularis. Now, these names may sound complicated but the jobs these muscles perform are far from it. Their roles may be simple but they are also very VERY important. The rotator cuffs primary role is to hold onto your arm (humerus) and suck it into your shoulder (glenoid fossa). The shoulder is a very mobile joint and due to this, lacks stability. These muscles, therefore, have to work really very hard, especially if you use your arms all day, every day and in repeated motions. These motions after a period of time can start to cause friction between two structures, where the muscle starts to rub against another tissue, for example, a bursa (causing bursitis) or causing micro-trauma to tendons causing micro-tears (tendinitis). These common shoulder issues, bursitis and tendinitis, increase the inflammation around the injured site, which therefore irritates the nerve endings causing you the pain and discomfort you feel.
Shoulder pain, exercises, stretches and rehab
Thankfully there are things that can be done to alleviate some of the discomforts of shoulder impingement, bursitis or tendinitis. Exercise and strengthening the muscles under the guidance of a qualified therapist Will most likely improve your symptoms over time but you can also improve your own symptoms by performing some simple exercises. Personally, I like to advise a simple traction exercise to start. I have attached a link here to a YouTube video that may be of benefit if you are suffering from shoulder pain. Click the link below to take a look: