Rotator Cuff Injury: safe exercises with rotator cuff injury

Rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that attaches from your shoulder blade to your arm.

They aide in rotating your arm (hence the name) but their primary function is to stabilize your shoulder. They act as a counter force to all the big muscles (chest, back etc.) to your shoulder so that it is much less likely to dislocate/sublux your shoulder.  They are one of the main reasons every time you throw a ball or move your couch, your arm does not dislocate.

Rotator cuff: Why is Rotator Cuff Muscle group important?

As the shape of the shoulder joint is quite shallow it lacks the inherent stability that other joints like our spine or hip have.  And to further compound the issue, soft tissues such ligaments and cartilage does not offer much stability as the shoulder joints needs to be very mobile (from the back of your neck to the touching the back of the hip, that’s a lot of movement!), it has to heavily on the rotator cuff for stability.

If there is any injury that affects the rotator cuff, it effectively would affect the whole arm’s movement.

Rotator Cuff injury: some usual signs and symptoms

There is different type of rotator cuff injuries, and there are similar shoulder injuries that could present like a rotator cuff injury, and a lot of shoulder/neck injury would affect the rotator cuff.

Sometimes rotator cuff injury could be acute (i.e. through a fall or a jolt) or chronic (worsening pain over time).

Most common injury of the rotator cuff would be a strain or a tear, where the tendon or the muscle is affected, creating weakness and pain during shoulder movement.

As we have discussed above, an injured rotator cuff would impair your arm’s movement.  In more minor injuries, patients might feel weakness in overhead movements, inability to produce strength or power that they were used to and feeling pain around the shoulder blade and upper arm area.

Though in more serious cases, patients might find themselves unable to lift their shoulder overhead, pain at night and affected sleep when sleeping on the affected shoulder.  Sometimes, patients would also report stiffness in their shoulder as well.

Another common complaint of patients suffering from a rotator cuff injury is compensation of the neck, upper back and chest region that might results in stiffness or pain in those areas as well.

See a GP or a health professional

If you suspect you might have suffered a rotator cuff injury, it is best to get it checked out as soon as possible to minimize the time in rehabilitation, reduce pain and improve function as soon as you can.

Rotator Cuff Injury: safe exercises with rotator cuff injury

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