Shoulder injuries come in all shapes and sizes. It is the most involved joint that we have and is one of the easiest to develop problems with and one of the most frequent shoulder injuries is a rotator cuff injury. Around thirty percent of us will suffer from a problem with these small but important muscles at some point .
The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles that help to stabilize the shoulder joint by helping to pull the rounded head of the arm into the socket of the shoulder formed by the end of the scapula or shoulder blade. These muscles run over and around the shoulder joint forming a cuff of muscle, hence the name. Without these muscles it would be very easy to put your shoulder out of joint as the ball and socket joint is shallow to allow the movement that we enjoy.
If you damage the rotator cuff you can start to Experience a wide range of symptoms. These include difficulty sleeping caused by pain when you lie down, pain when you try lifting your arm above shoulder height or out to the side. You may also experience pain whenever you reach behind you, tucking in blouse or shirt for example can be almost impossible and if you ignore them the symptoms simply get worse until your injured arm becomes almost too painful to use.
So what causes the problems in the first place? It might be a knock or fall that causes damage to these muscles. Lifting something that is too heavy can injure these muscles or a repetitive movement can cause wear to the muscle. This condition is known as pitcher's shoulder because baseball pitchers often have cuff injuries from the constant overhead throwing action. If you are in your fifties you have a fairly good chance of being in the group of people who suffer with shoulder pain simply through wear and tear.
As we (age we change our posture and these changes in posture can result in problems with one or both of our shoulder joints. One of the muscles of the rotator cuff runs through a channel of bone at the top of the shoulder . This muscle can start to rub against the bone either because it has been injured and become inflamed or simply because we hold ourselves a bit differently as time goes by. The swelling can lead to a shoulder impingement where the muscle is literally getting pinched by the bone. Ignore this at your peril because a shoulder impingement can become a partial or complete tear of the muscle. The latter will certainly require surgery.
Happily, the vast majority of rotator cuff injuries can be fixed with rest and exercise. Rest first!
Sounds easy but you quickly|soon begin to} realise just how frequently you use your shoulder, so the most sensible advice is to avoid any movement that causes pain or discomfort. The pain in a rotator cuff injury is a sign that damage is being done. Try anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen to reduce the swelling. Avoid working through this type of injury as you can end up turning a simple problem into a major injury that will require surgery.
Once the pain and inflammation has subsided you can start gentle exercise aimed at building up muscle, gradually building up the frequency and amount of exercise until the shoulder is back to full, pain free, movement. Exercise for this sort of injury does not involve heavy weights or strong resistance as that will tend to make you use the major muscles of the shoulder rather than the rotator cuff
Finally, don't stop the exercises when you are better. If you have suffered a shoulder injury once there is a pretty good chance of it happening again so, seeing that prevention is better than cure, keep your shoulders in shape as you gracefully age and keep up the exercises.
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If you found this article useful check out my full story at
My name is Nick Bryant and I tore my rotator cuff lifting something that was too heavy. Despite being told that I would need surgery I have fully recovered with just phyical therapy. Check out my story at www..myrotatorcuffcure.blogspot.com
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