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Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Rotator Cuff

rotator cuff tear symptomsAt some point in our lives, there is a greater than 50% chance that we will suffer from some sort of shoulder problem.  The percentage goes up even more if you actively participate in sports.  One of the most common types of shoulder injuries is a torn rotator cuff.  So what are the tell tale signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff tear and what is the best way to cure it?

Before we jump straight into the most frequently reported rotator cuff symptoms, it’s important to first learn what exactly happens when you suffer a torn rotator cuff muscle.

The rotator cuff is not just one muscle.  It’s actually comprised of 4 muscles: Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, and Teres minor.  These 4 muscles all work together to help us perform basic everyday movements, needs and tasks.  For example, raising your arm out to your side is a function of your Supraspinatus muscle.  Any type of throwing movement or bring our arm down to our side is a function of the Subscapularis muscle.  Catching a ball or reaching to retrieve an item on a high shelf engages the Infraspinatus muscle.  And finally, the Teres minor muscle helps with should stability and external shoulder rotation.

An injury to any one of the four rotator cuff muscles, can cause pain to the shoulder area and prevent you from performing everyday tasks, interfere with your daily routine and stop you from participating in your favorite sport or activity.

Before we jump to the best rotator cuff treatment, below is a list of the commonly reported symptoms:

  • you hear a grinding or cracking sound when you lift your arm forward or backwards or out to your side
  • you experience shoulder weakness when extending your arm upwards and outwards
  • you have noticed a decrease in your shoulder mobility and range of motion
  • you experience shoulder pain and discomfort when sleeping or laying on your injured side
  • shoulder pain while performing activities that require your arm to stay overhead for an extended period of time(ie: painting a ceiling, playing volleyball, rock climbing)
  • you have a dull pain, soreness or tenderness in your shoulder that increases at night
  • you experience shoulder pain raising arm out to your side, in front of you or even when you reach to shake someone’s hand

Please note that this is not the definitive list of all symptoms of a rotator cuff tear but they are certainly the most commonly reported by sufferers.  Other questions to consider when verify for certain that it is a rotator cuff tear that you are suffering from can be:

  1. Do you find it challenging sometimes to reach items located on high shelves?
  2. Does sleeping on one side of your shoulder cause discomfort and interfere with your normal sleeping routine?
  3. Do you often find it challenging to put on or take off your jacket, without assistance?
  4. Can you reach around and take your wallet from your pants pocket without pain and discomfort?

As someone who has suffered from a torn rotator cuff, I can tell you that there is no correlation between the amount of money you spend trying to cure a rotator cuff injury and the speed at which you will recover.  I spend a small fortune on doctors, physio, massage therapy, acupuncture, cortisone shots, muscle rubs and creams  - all of which failed to cure my rotator cuff injury.  But I must tell you that the worst thing you can do is take the wait and see approach!  Simply because the longer you wait to treat a rotator cuff injury, the worse your pain and symptoms will get and longer your recovery can take.

So what worked for me(…which will work for you…)?  To be honest, all it really takes to completely recover from a rotator cuff tear are 4 simple, step-by-step techniques performed in the comfort of your own home, without any special exercise equipment or medical gadgets!

rotator cuff tear symptom

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