Treatment Options For Rotator Cuff Injuries
The shoulder joint is the most vulnerable joint in the human body, due to its high degree of mobility. Generally, about 22% of individuals will experience a rotator cuff injury at some point in their life. The risk of this happening also increases with age.
So, what’s the treatment protocol for a rotator cuff injury? What are the best options? In this article, we’ll find out.
What is a Rotator Cuff Injury?
A rotator cuff injury is any damage that occurs to the rotator cuff muscles. The rotator cuff includes the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, the teres minor muscle and the subscapularis muscle. These muscles help stabilize the shoulder joint and keep the upper arm against the end of the scapula (or shoulder blade). They also help externally rotate the shoulder joint.
A rotator cuff injury often begins as an ache in the shoulder. Gradually, as time goes on, this pain ends up worsening.
Rotator cuff injuries are also most common in individuals that perform repetitive overhead movements. For example, a painter or an electrician may be more prone to a rotator cuff injury due to the nature of their job.
Rotator cuff injuries also come in many shapes and sizes. The muscle may tear, become stretched or irritated. This type of injury can range from a minor or mild annoyance to severe pain, where even sometimes surgery is required.
How Is It Diagnosed?
During a diagnosis of a rotator cuff injury, the doctor or healthcare professional will physically examine your arm. They’ll press into the tissue and move your arm in different positions, examining what causes pain.
In some instances, X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds may be used to help further assess the extent of injury. In particular, this may help diagnose a hard-to-diagnosis rotator cuff injury or problem, getting to the bottom of the cause of pain once and for all.
Physiotherapy Treatment Options
So, what physiotherapy treatment options are there to address damage to these shoulder muscles?
Usually, physiotherapy will consist of manual therapy, where the physiotherapist stretches or moves the shoulder to help facilitate healing and break up any adhesions or scar tissue.
This comes after a thorough examination has taken place which involves measuring your pain levels, strengths and weaknesses.
In addition, rotator cuff exercises play a huge role in recovery. Exercises help ensure the restoration of movement and function of the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles. They also help bring proper blood flow to the area, furthering healing.
Some common rotator cuff exercises include:
- The doorway stretch
- Side-lying external rotation (with or without resistance)
- Seated rows
- Crossover arm stretch
- Towel shoulder stretch
Generally, the exercises prescribed depend on the exact injury, as well as pain levels associated with that injury. These exercises should also not cause increased pain. Usually, treatment will begin with gentle stretches where the arm isn’t pulled past the point of pain. From there and as the pain subsides, more stretches and then strengthening exercises are added.
Trust Impact Physio to Solve Your Rotator Cuff Injury
At Impact Physio & Sport Clinic, our experts are very experienced when it comes to dealing with rotator cuff injuries. We can help you bounce back and get back to the activities you love. After all, we know shoulder injuries aren’t fun — and if you’re not careful, they can lead to a worse situation (such as a frozen shoulder).
Instead, get the treatment your shoulder joint needs. Call us at 780-929-7272 to book your appointment today or fill out our online contact form.