Rotator Cuff Tear
It’s not uncommon for people with shoulder problems to simply ignore the pain and attribute it to ‘getting old’ or ‘I must have slept on my shoulder the wrong way’. The sad truth is that you may have something a little more serious going on such as a rotator cuff tear, the most common type of shoulder injury.
A tear in your rotator cuff usually doesn’t happen overnight. They mostly occur from performing repetitive actions and tasks over and over again. These repetitive actions are mostly performed in the workplace or some type of sporting activity.
Performing activities that require constant overhead lifting, heavy lifting, pitching/throwing a ball, painting walls and ceilings, swimming, volleyball and all of the raquet sports are all considered high risk activities that can lead to and develop into a rotator cuff tear. It’s not as common but you can also suffer from a rotator cuff tear as a result of a fall onto your shoulder or blunt force trauma to the shoulder.
It’s not uncommon to experience pain in your shoulder if you are driving for a long period of time, if you reach out above your head to catch a ball or simply reaching behind your back into your pants pocket to retrieve your wallet.
Some of the common symptoms that rotator cuff tears sufferers report are:
- a decrease in your shoulder and arms normal range of motion and flexibility
- weakness and tenderness in your shoulder
- constant dull pain and aching when performing activities that require your arms to be overhead for extended periods of time
- cracking or grating sound when you raise your arm out to the side or in front of you
- shoulder pain that gets worse as the day goes on, trouble sleeping on your injured shoulder side
- lack of mobility in your injured shoulder
- muscle weakness when you attempt to lift your arm out to your side or in front of you
One of the many misconceptions about a rotator cuff tears is that the rotator cuff is just one muscle. When in fact the rotator cuff is actually comprised of four muscles.
The subscapularis muscle helps primarily in the internal rotation of the shoulder. When we throw a ball, it’s this muscle that is responsible with the follow through part of throwing. It also enables us to lower our arm downwards, towards the side of our body.
As the name indicates, “supra”, it’s the largest muscle of the rotator cuff. It helps stabilize the head of the humerus bone. Its primary function is to aid the deltoid muscles lift the shoulder away from the body.
The majority of tears to the rotator cuff occurs in this muscle and can often take the longest time to heal. The reason why this happens is simply because of the size of the muscle and the strain and pressure it takes in the majority of movements with the shoulder day in and day out. I should also point out that this muscle does not get any supply of blood.
The infraspinatus muscle helps with overhead reaching and catching of items, aids in shoulder stabilization and works as an external rotator. I should also add that the teres minor muscle is also involved with these shoulder activities. This smaller muscle aids in the resistance and slowing of your arm after you throw a ball or any other item that involves a throwing action or movement.
Teres Minor muscle
The lonely teres minor muscle as the name indicates, “minor”, simply is a “partner-in-crime” to the infraspinatus muscle that aids in shoulder stability and external shoulder rotation.
It’s important to note that the long head of your bicep muscle helps stabilize and flex your shoulder but it’s not part of the rotator cuff set of muscles.
The primary role of the rotator cuff is to provide stability to the glenohumeral joint, the most important joint in the shoulder!
So now you’ve hopefully learned a little more about your rotator cuff tear but what is the ultimate rotator cuff training and best option for treatment for strengthening your shoulder?
All it really takes to completely recover from a rotator cuff tear using 4 simple, step-by-step techniques that you can do from the comfort and convenience of your own living room without any special exercise equipment or gadgets!