Rotator cuffs are a group of tendons and muscles that allow your shoulder mobility. These cuffs also help in stabilizing your shoulder. Additionally, rotator cuff injuries vary greatly from one another, and the symptoms may also vary.
Some of the most common injuries may include bursitis, rotator cuff strains, and tendinitis. These injuries can range from severe to mild. If you’re an athlete or a sportsperson who uses their rotator cuff quite frequently, then the most likely injury you may get is tendinitis. That’s because overuse of these muscles and tendons can lead to inflammation. Most basketball players, tennis players, and painters fall in this category.
You may experience rotator cuff strain from accidents, falls, and other sudden movements. Typically, most acute injuries involving the shoulder can lead to a partial tear or even a complete one in the tendons. Moreover, overuse can also cause this type of strain.
As for bursitis, this is inflammation in the bursa. These fluid- filled sacs between your bones and tendons can be inflamed for various reasons, including degenerative use.
Can You Treat a Rotator Cuff Tear or Strain at Home?
Home remedies can help you get relief from rotator cuff strain. However, it’s still important to visit your doctor if your symptoms persist for longer than a week. Your physician can help determine the severity of the injury, the type of rotator cuff injury and come up with the right prescriptions for you. The most common solutions are:
- Using over-the-counter medication for pain
- Using an ice pack on the area (hot packs are good too)
- Using a sling to avoid motion on the shoulder and resting it
- Injecting cortisone to reduce inflammation
- Exercising the affected shoulder
You should also note that depending on how bad the injury is, you may need surgery. However, the timing of the surgery will not necessarily affect the outcome.
What Are the Symptoms to Look Out For?
As mentioned before, while some types of rotator cuff injuries are generally characterized by immediate and intense pain, some may take longer to manifest. You may have a tear without even knowing it until it gets worse. Even so, there are tell-tale signs of such injuries. They include:
- Difficulties with moving the affected shoulder due to pain
- Difficulties in sleeping or lying on the affected shoulder
- Trouble reaching the back of your shoulder
- Pain in the area from time to time
- Inability to use full range motion of your shoulder
- Weakness in the shoulder which gets worse over time
Can You Prevent a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Injuries caused by an acute injury cannot easily be prevented as a most result from accidents. However, it’s possible to prevent other forms of injuries by exercising your shoulder frequently to improve its range of motion or simply strengthen it. You can also try taking frequent rest breaks if your occupation involves overusing your shoulder muscles.
Rotator cuff injuries can sometimes lead to excruciating pain. Although home remedies and preventive measures can help ensure you don’t strain your tendons, sometimes surgical intervention is necessary to help correct the tear. For more information, feel free to fill out the form below.
Arm and shoulder pain can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and have a significant hindrance on everyday life if it goes without treatment. Sometimes the cause of arm and shoulder pain may be identifiable, resulting from a dislocation, separation, or prior injury. But sometimes, the cause of this pain can be a result of an underlying condition such as arthritis, tendonitis, or even gallbladder trouble. Regardless of the cause, many options are available to patients to treat arm and shoulder pain. Below is a list of some causes, non-invasive, and minimally invasive treatment options for those experiencing arm and shoulder pain.
Causes of Arm and Shoulder Pain
It goes without saying that accidents can cause a variety of injuries to the arm and shoulder. Some of these commonly seen injuries include…
- Brachial Plexus Injury-Usually resulting from sports, auto, or motorcycle accidents, brachial plexus injuries occur when the nerves that send signals from the spinal cord to the arm and shoulder are compressed, stretched, or torn. Symptoms include numbness down the arm, weakness, and lack of arm movement.
- Dislocation-dislocation of the shoulder or elbow is an obvious form of injury that occurs when the joint is forced out of alignment or overextended. Distortion of the joint along with pain is a clear identifier of a dislocation.
Arm and Shoulder pain can also be caused by various pain conditions, including, but not limited to:
- Bursitis-Commonly known as joint inflammation, bursitis affects the fluid-filled sacs also known as bursae’s that cushion the bone, muscle, and tendon surrounding a joint. The shoulder, elbow, and hip are the most common areas where patients experience bursitis.
- Tendinitis-This specific inflammation of the tendon is commonly known as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, or pitcher’s shoulder. This is the irritation of the tendons that attach bone to muscle.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis-A chronic inflammatory disorder, rheumatoid arthritis is known for causing a painful swelling that affects the lining of joints. Tender, swollen joints, fatigue, and joint stiffness are common markers of this condition.
Treatments For Arm and Shoulder Pain
If you find yourself experiencing pain in your arm and/or shoulder, there are many treatment options available to you.
- Follow RICE measures…
- Rest-avoid strenuous activity and take a break from any movements that activate the pain
- Ice-apply ice for 15-20 minutes up to three times a day
- Compression-if necessary, use a compression bandage to help reduce swelling
- Elevation-elevate arm if possible to aid in reducing any swelling
- Take an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen to help reduce pain and inflammation
- Corticosteroid injections are anti-inflammatory injections that your doctor can turn to for a more aggressive form of pain management
- Newer advancements in treatment suggest that the injection of NASHA hyaluronic acid is also effective in treating arm and shoulder pain, specifically in patients with osteoarthritis
It is important to note that severe arm and shoulder pain that comes on suddenly and is accompanied by fullness in your chest or any chest pain should receive immediate medical attention to rule out the cardiac arrest. However, the suggestions above should be considered as a first line of treatment for common forms of arm and shoulder pain. Of course, everyone responds differently to different types of treatment. If the pain does not go away or seems to worsen, contact your doctor and consider other forms of treatment. Depending on the cause, physical therapy or surgery may be necessary.
If you live with arm and shoulder pain, the team at Progressive Pain Management can help determine the root cause of pain and create a treatment plan. Fill out the form below to contact our team today!