One commonly injured area of the body is the rotator cuff, and typical damages include strains, tears, and tendinitis. Although a lot of nonsurgical recommendations and treatments exist, sometimes surgery is required. But before it gets to the point of surgery, you should consider investigating advanced chiropractic care to prevent and alleviate serious pain.
“Growing up,” relates Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic, “I heard people say their shoulder problems were from something called a ‘rotator cup’, ‘rotator cuff,’ or ‘rotary cuff.’ ‘Rotator cuff’ is the proper term, and it refers to the group of four muscles [and tendons] that move your shoulder.” The rotator cuff also helps stabilize the shoulder every time you move it, so injuries to this area can seriously impact quality of life and should be taken seriously.
Irritation of the rotator cuff muscles causes the tendons between the muscles and bones to become overstretched or even torn. Injuries range from mild to severe and can be caused by overuse, wear and tear over time, or acute injury.
Common symptoms include pain that deters you from certain activities or reaching overhead, difficulty reaching behind the back or to the side, increased weakness, and greater discomfort, especially at night.
Chronic rotator cuff injuries are more common with age (greater in people over 40) or physically demanding professions. For example, many athletes are more prone (if they serve overhead or throw balls often) and laborers and artists are more at risk if they lift heavy loads or perform repetitive motions in their work.
Preventing chronic rotator cuff injury is possible. People who use the shoulder often should take frequent rest breaks to reduce the load on the muscle group. Icing the affected area can help reduce swelling, and exercises can strengthen the shoulder and encourage range of motion.
Rotator cuff injuries also can be sustained from something unpredictable like a fall or car accident. Acute injuries like these typically result in immediate and intense pain.
Shoulder pain is common after overexertion, and often you just need time to rest and recover. If it gets to the point that your pain doesn’t improve with rest, ice, and pain relievers, or the pain worsens and inhibits range of motion or day-to-day activities, it’s time to seek treatment.
Moreover, if you have a sudden serious pain or immobility, seek out medical attention immediately. These injuries can worsen over time, so you should seek treatment as quickly as possible to keep the damage from progressing or risking reinjury that will be worse than the initial problem.
To diagnosis the injury, doctors ask about physical activities at the workplace and test for strength and range of motion to rule out pinched nerves or arthritis. Image scans, like x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds, can identify various causes pain and inflammation as well as tears in the tendons and muscles.
For many people, symptoms can improve with nonsurgical treatments, such as resting or isolating the area, using hot or cold packs to reduce swelling, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, employing strength and range-of-motion exercises, or injecting steroids to reduce inflammation.
In cases of a severe rotator cuff tear, shoulder strength may not improve without surgical correction. If that becomes necessary, the risks are relatively small but include complications like loss of motion, permanent stiffness, a frozen shoulder, or reduced cuff strength.
Not all rotator cuff damage is drastic or notable at first, and injuries from degenerative conditions may worsen over months or years and not show symptoms for quite some time. One preventative course of action is getting adjustments by a trained chiropractor.
“The best option is to get your shoulder adjusted regularly before there is pain or loss of mobility,” says Dr. Gross. “But, even if you have waited for pain or injury to happen, and the shoulder is losing a lot of function or motion, we can still get significant results. Many times, we can get such good results that surgery is no longer necessary for shoulder pain. Before you get a rotator cuff surgery, we encourage you to try our treatments first.”
“Most doctors, and even chiropractors, don’t know about the advanced shoulder adjustments we use as part of the Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics Network,” says Dr. Gross. “By adding these specialized adjustments to your treatment plan, we notice dramatic improvement in rotator cuff problems.”
If you’ve been experiencing shoulder pain for a while or have lost function in your arm, contact us at Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225 to learn how we can help bring you back to whole health.Schedule an Appointment