What Is a Rotator Cuff Injuries?
The rotator cuff is a series of three main muscles which help stabilize the delicately balanced and highly mobile shoulder joint.
These muscles are called the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and the teres minor.
Coordination of these muscles help provide an extensive range of motion to the shoulder joint.
Shoulder pain due to rotator cuff tears is a very common cause of debility in athletes and patients over 60 years of age as well as patients who are involved in trauma.
The most common cause of acute shoulder pain is due to rotator cuff injuries.
Degeneration of the major tendons of the shoulder, either due to age, trauma, or degeneration, becomes inflamed causing pain.
The pain from rotator cuff tears can cause radiation of symptoms and pain to an area distant from the actual pathology. Limitation of range of motion is also an early symptom.
Conditions affecting the joint itself are often referred into the front or back of the shoulder area and down the arm and neck.
The pain is usually worsened with the motion of the joint, reaching, lifting, and carrying.
Diagnoses involve a thorough history and physical as well as proper imaging including CAT scans, x-rays, MRI, electrodiagnostic studies, and
bloodwork in certain cases.
Treatment options include analgesics for temporary pain relief, low-dose antidepressants which are helpful in both sleep and chronic pain, as well as opioid use for worsening chronic pain.
Physical therapy includes home exercises to help strengthen and improve the flexibility and range of motion of the joint and associated muscles.
Diagnostic / Therapeutic joint injections with or without supplemental steroids may also be effective and augment the effects of oral medication and physical therapy.
Regenerative treatments including PRP and Amniotic Fluid have also been successful.
If these fail one can be evaluated for their candidacy for reconstructive or debridement surgery.