A shoulder rotator cuff injury can be painful and uncomfortable, often causing a deep ache in the shoulder that can make it difficult to move the arm or perform everyday tasks. A rotator cuff may sound like a single part, but it’s actually comprised of several muscles and tendons that are found in the shoulder and are responsible for the connection between the shoulder blade and the upper bone of the arm. Four muscles are found here that connect at the scapula and each one connects to the humerus via a tendon. It’s a relatively complicated physiological zone that is unfortunately a common source of injury and damage. What further complicates this is the fact that there are many different types of rotator cuff injury, so identifying it in the first place can be quite challenging.
Five main conditions may affect the rotator cuff and the muscles, tissues and tendons that it’s comprised of:
- Subacromial Bursitis. One of the most common but perhaps least severe conditions. When this condition is present, the small fluid filled sacs that cushion the rotator cuff from bone become inflamed. Get more facts and treatment info in this subacromial bursitis overview.
- Adhesive Capsulitis. Another type of rotator cuff injury which is also known as a frozen shoulder. In this type of shoulder injury, the upper bone of the arm sticks to the shoulder blade.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis. This shoulder rotator cuff injury condition is related to overuse and is commonly seen in athletes who use overhead arm movement, such as in swimming, baseball or tennis.
- Rotator Cuff Impingement. This shoulder rotator cuff injury shares similar symptoms as tendonitis although this one refers to the squeezing of local tendons between the acromion and humerus bones.
- Rotator Cuff Tear. This is the most serious rotator cuff injury type. It occurs when one of the tendons in the shoulder area tears as a result of injury, degeneration or age.
What Rotator Cuff Injury Feels Like
What a rotator cuff injury feels like depends entirely on what type of injury is present. In the case of bursitis for instance, a gradual increase in pain may signal developing inflammation in the fluid filled sacs found in the shoulder. Over time this may worsen and at times muscle and joint pain may become severe. This condition may give way to a frozen shoulder, and the symptoms of adhesive capsulitis include severe pain and loss of motion in the shoulder temporarily along with the joint pain and inflammation associated with bursitis if it is the underlying cause.
Tendinitis symptoms are similar to other strain types of injuries that are related to overuse and include pain (may be sudden, severe or gradual) and some loss of motion. These same symptoms may present if impingement is present, too.
When a tear is present, varying levels of pain are often the primary symptom. Pain may be worse in cases of serious or severe tears. An inability to move the shoulder or a substantial loss of mobility in the shoulder may also be present in the case of a tear, and tender sensations and weakness are also synonymous with this type of rotator cuff injury. Perhaps one of the most unpleasant and well known symptoms of a rotator cuff tear is the sound. In some cases, a loud initial snap can be heard, and it’s not uncommon for people with tears to regularly hear crackling and snapping sounds when the shoulder is moved. Sleeping can also be challenging for people with this type of serious rotator cuff injury, and many find that sleeping on the affected side is next to impossible.
Usually, a combination of an exam by a healthcare provider as well as imaging tools like x-rays and MRIs are needed in order to determine what type of rotator cuff injury is present. A thorough explanation of symptoms is very helpful here, and the information can be used along with evaluation to make a diagnosis. Correctly identifying the injury that is present is important to determining the appropriate type of treatment in order to bring about shoulder pain relief. For instance, home care may be appropriate for minor and temporary injuries but can be inadequate for more serious injuries and a further delay in treatment in these cases can cause damage injury to worsen.
Regardless of the shoulder rotator cuff injury type, Whole Body Cryotherapy is an effective alternative natural pain relief method that helps reduce injury recovery time. Widely used by professional athletes worldwide and raved about by such influential celebrities as Tony Robbins, 2 to 3 minute cryosauna sessions should be used in conjunction with other treatment methods recommended by your health care practitioner. Call Cryotherapy Health & Wellness Inc o/a Cryotherapy Toronto at 416- 509-4555 to schedule your FREE consultation today to discuss how Whole Body Cryotherapy will benefit you in your shoulder rotator cuff injury recovery.
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