Rotator Cuff Injuries
What Is The Rotator Cuff?
The shoulder joint is a unique structure as much of its motion and position is regulated completely by the soft tissues that surround it. The rotator cuff is a combination of four muscles that are the primary stabilizers of the shoulder. They are responsible for properly positioning the head of the humerus in the shallow socket of the glenoid, a portion of the shoulder blade. Rotator cuff conditions can range from a minor annoyance to a severe, debilitating injury. The most common rotator cuff dysfunction involves an imbalance of the strength and muscle length of one or more of the muscles. When the 4 muscles of the cuff do not work in a synchronized manner, you may experience clicking through the shoulder joint with regular motions, or pain with slight weight bearing as the head of the humerus jams (impinges) into structures that it normally would not.
What Causes Rotator Cuff Injuries?
When minor imbalances are left untreated, this can lead to fraying, strains, and eventually tears of the rotator cuff, most commonly the Supraspinatus muscle. This is very common in patients over the age of 30, but can occur in people of any age. This repetitive damage can be from sports activity, repetitive motions at work, or from everyday life. Traumatic force, such as sports injuries, slips or falls may also lead to strains and tears of the rotator cuff. Some of the most common causes of rotator cuff injuries are:
- Throwing Sports
- Hitting Sports
- Collision Sports
- Rock Climbing
- Repetitive Work Injuries
- Hair Stylists
- Office or Computer Work
- Orchestra Conductors
- Custodial Work
How Are Rotator Cuff Injuries Treated?
As with any injury, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are two important steps you can take to protect yourself from rotator cuff injuries. The first and most well-known step is to strengthen the rotator cuff. This is generally done with exercise bands or dumbbells by performing each range of motion with resistance. Lateral raises, front raises, internal rotation, external rotation, and extension should all be performed to strengthen the entire rotator cuff. For more specific instruction, check with your physician, personal trainer, or coach. The second step to preventing rotator cuff injuries is to maintain proper posture and spinal alignment. A 2015 study examined the posture and incidence of rotator cuff injuries in over 500 patients. According to the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, "Prevalence of rotator cuff tears was 2.9% with ideal alignment, 65.8% with kyphotic-lordotic posture, 54.3% with flat-back posture, and 48.9% with sway-back posture. Logistic regression analysis identified increased age, abnormal posture, and past pain as factors associated with rotator cuff tears."
Shoulder injuries are commonly ignored until the necessary interventions are injection therapies or surgery. Here at Marty Chiropractic & Wellness, we focus on preventing the need for invasive treatments. Instead, we use chiropractic care, myofascial release, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (Graston Technique), and rehabilitative exercises to maintain proper nervous control of rotator cuff, create proper muscular balance through the joint, and train efficient biomechanics. These treatments are great for restoring muscular imbalances, treating sprains and strains at the shoulder, and can even be utilized post injection or surgery to prevent future injury.
Call (612) 440-5776 or request an appointment online today!