A Rotator Cuff Problem happens to lots of us

By: Nick Bryant

This year in the USA around eight million people will visit their doctor complaining of shoulder problems.Between fifty five and sixty percent of those will be diagnosed as having a rotator cuff problem. I know it's no comfort to find that you are only one of millions but at least it means that there is research going on about shoulder injuries.

It also means that there is lots of information and resources available to help. However tempting, don't try to carry on with a painful shoulder. Unlike a lot of other muscular injuries, a lot of shoulder injuries will only deteriorate if you carry on using them.

There are generally two or three major causes of shoulder injury. Wear and tear either through the aging process or repetitive movements, a direct injury such as a knock to the shoulderor a fall or as in my case, trying to lift something that was too big and heavy.

Symptoms again fall into common areas which are pain, weakness and loss of movement. A classic symptom of shoulder injuries is being unable to raise your arm above shoulder height or to the side or in front of you. The amount of movement restriction is a good pointer to the amount of damage that you have suffered.

Most injuries in the shoulder involve muscles, tendons, cartilage or ligaments of the joint rather than the bones themselves. The shoulder contains seventeen different muscles any one of which can lead to a painful shoulder. Because the majority of shoulder injuries involve damage to the soft tissue rather than bones physical therapy features strongly in a lot of the treatments but it is essential that you do exercises that are designed for your particular injury as the wrong exercises can cause more damage and worsen the injury.

The rotator cuff is a perfect example of this. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that help hold the shoulder in place. They all connect the humerus to the scapula. They are small muscles but extremely important for a healthy shoulder joint. These muscles run under and over other muscles and one of them, the supraspinatus muscle, even runs through a channel in the collar bone or clavicle. If you damage this muscle it can and become enflammed,getting pinched under the collar bone. Continuing to use this muscle can cause a partial or complete tear of the musclethat will need corrective surgery.

Most shoulder injury thearapies will focus on RICE. Rest, ice, compression and elevation but will also often focus on strengthening the muscles of the rotator cuff to improve stability in the joint. Any exercise that works on this group of muscles will involve small weights and specific movements that do not stress the muscles. If you experience pain then you are doing it wrong.

The blood supply to the shoulder muscles is not very good and anything you do to stimulate the blood supply will help with recovery. Massage and heat will both help to increase the blood supply and improve healing. You also need to keep your shoulder moving as much as possible without causing yourself pain. Passive exercises will help. Lifting the injured arm with the good arm for example or simply swinging the arm gently can help but stop immediately if you experience any pain

See a doctor and find out what is wrong but also find out as much as you can about your shoulder and the best way to fix it. Remember knowledge is power!

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If you found this article interesting check out my full story at www..myrotatorcuffcure.blogspot.com 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 managed a full recovery with just exercise. Check out one of my other articles on shoulder pain

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