Have you experienced pain in your shoulders that keeps on coming? You might be experiencing a rotator cuff injury that involves the damage in the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a band of muscles and tendons located on the shoulder area. This band of soft structures is the one responsible for connecting your humerus to your shoulder and also assists in the normal functioning of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff ensures a smooth rotation of the ball to the shoulder socket. Without the rotator cuff, the ball of the humerus may slide out of the socket in the shoulders making the rotator cuff an important structure in the arm.
Injury to the rotator cuff may happen following these several reasons:
Falls with high impact on the shoulder area may damage the tendons and irritate the muscles in the area.
• Repetitive overhead arm activities
Overhead arm motions may put more tension on the band of muscles and tendons as the soft structures need to stretch to allow the arms to extend overhead. Repetitive trauma to them may cause soreness and injury to the rotator cuff. Activities involving overhead movements may include tennis, badminton, serving a ball for baseball and soft ball or just an overextension of the arms overhead as you thrust something on a high shelf.
Lifting heavy objects may also tense the muscles and tendons on the rotator cuff.
The presence of irritation in the rotator cuff may lead to symptoms that may be disturbing including:
• Weakness in the shoulders
• Pain especially when moving the arms overhead, pulling something, lifting and reaching. Sleeping on your affected side may also intensify pain.
• Reduced shoulder range of motion
• Desire to keep the shoulders and arms steady
When experiencing rotator cuff, treatments should be employed immediately to prevent frozen shoulders or the reduced ability of the muscles on the area to contract and cause movement. Treatment modalities include physical therapy, massage, heat therapy, chiropractic care, exercises and use of analgesics.
Treating rotator cuff syndrome is important to prevent complications, but prevention is still the best key to promoting mobility. Rotator cuff injury is simply easy to prevent through the following activities:
• Regular shoulder exercises
Exercising the shoulders helps keep the muscles and tendons more flexible. By keeping them flexible, they are more resilient to internal and external pressures. There are various shoulder exercises that can be employed such as:
• Shoulder rotation
Start by placing your hands on your shoulders. Slowly rotate the joint by counts of 15 after which reverse the direction of the rotation.
• Side stretches
Place your right arm across your chest keeping it straight. Use your left hand to support your right arm, while you slowly pull the right arm towards the opposite direction. Keep the stretch for at least 20 seconds. Release and repeat on the other arm.
• Rope rotation
Get a jumping rope and tie the other end in your window or chair. Grasp the other end and start rotating the rope as if playing jump ropes. Repeat on the other arm.
Rest is another important preventive measure for rotator cuff syndrome. When you are already tired, take some rest from your activity to prevent further injury.
• Apply cold packs when you experience pain
Before serious injury take place, place cold compress over the shoulder joint to reduce inflammation and prevent further the development of rotator cuff syndrome.
As they say, prevention is still better than cure so make sure to employ preventive measures before pain affects you.