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Rotator Cuff vs Frozen Shoulder

April 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Rotator Cuff

It’s inevitable that at some point in your life, you will suffer some sort of injury.  One of the most stubborn and nagging injuries to incur is a shoulder injury.  Simple because we take using our shoulder on a daily basis for granted and it’s not until we injury it that we realize how important a properly functioning shoulder is.

When you do suffer a shoulder injury, it’s important to first learn which type it is.  The two most common shoulder injuries are Rotator Cuff and Frozen Shoulder.  So what exactly makes them different?  What are the symptoms of a Rotator Cuff injury vs a Frozen Shoulder injury?

Let’s first take a look at a frozen shoulder injury.

Frozen shoulder or “adhesive capsulitis” is a term that is used to describe all shoulder injuries that result in the loss of motion to the shoulder. It is more commonly reported by women as opposed to men.

Frozen shoulder symptoms are more characterized by:

  • Loss of motion in the shoulder joint
  • Difficulty in raising the arm above the head, across the body or behind the back

The actual causes of Frozen shoulder are still somewhat of a mystery but it commonly occurs after extended periods of immobilization, a past history of shoulder surgery or severe blunt trauma to the shoulder.  Also if you have inflammation of the shoulder tissues where the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint thickens and contracts, it’s this inflammation that can leave less space for the upper arm bone(humerous) to move about freely.

Most traditional treatments for Frozen shoulder can include:

  • Specific exercise routine
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Heat and ice cold therapy
  • Cortisone injections

The worse thing you can do if you have frozen shoulder is staying totally sedentary.  The lack of movement, mobility and blood supply will only make your condition worse.  You need to stay moving so you don’t totally freeze and seize up(hence the name “frozen shoulder”).

It’s best recommended to avoid any and all exercises/activities that cause you discomfort and pain.   Perform stretching and range of motion exercises with the affected arm daily and apply heat and ice daily. Stick to the program.  When it comes to beating frozen shoulder, there really is truth in slow and steady wins the race.  And in this case, you will win the race against frozen shoulder. Make sure the exercises you do for Frozen shoulder are specific to this condition; otherwise you may be doing more harm than good which will result in a longer recovery period.

And then there is the rotator cuff injury.

Injuries to the rotator cuff and its supporting tendons are common in the workplace and athletic arena’s alike.  It doesn’t discriminate against age or gender.

Rotator cuff injury symptoms can include any of the following:

  • Muscles weakness when extending arm outwards and upwards
  • Lack of shoulder mobility and limited range of motion
  • Constant pain when performing activities that require the arm to stay overhead for an extended period of time(ie: painting a ceiling)
  • Cracking or grinding sound when you move your arm forward or backwards / or laterally away from you
  • Soreness, tenderness or dull pain in the shoulder
  • Shoulder pain at night, especially sleeping on your injured side

But here’s the good news!

Regardless of whether you are suffering from a frozen shoulder or rotator cuff injury, there are simple steps and rotator cuff exercises that you can take, that are immediately effective in treating both injuries!  And the best part is that you can do it at home!

In fact, all it really takes to completely eliminate your rotator cuff and frozen shoulder injury are 4 simple, step-by-step techniques that you can do from the comfort of your own living room, while watching your favorite television show – without the need for any special exercise equipment or gadgets!

rotator cuff or frozen shoulder

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2 Responses to “Rotator Cuff vs Frozen Shoulder”

  1. Adrian on October 26th, 2011 3:59 pm

    Im just wondering if there are specific machines out there to treat Frozen Shoulder. Im a Biomedical engineering student and i have to design a machine with a motor that will perform shoulder elevating excercies for people who suffer from Frozen Shoulder. Im finding it soo difficult to find a excercise machine specifically for this perpose i would greatly appreciate any help . If any1 could tell me the name of a machine out there or even supply a photo.


  2. Bryzer on October 19th, 2012 12:17 pm

    I was recently diagnosed as having a frozen and was referred by my GP for physiotherapy. The physical teatment was extremely painful to execute and had no benefits to me whatsoever. Some months later, the physiotherapist expressed doubts that I had a frozen and referred me back to my GP. The GP was adamant I had a frozen shoulder, however, I got a second opinion via a consultant at my local hospital. And, following an MRI scan, it was revealed I have a “massive rotator cuff tear with no surgery options available to me. My shoulder remains very painful and sleeping is always disruptive. All my GP can say is sorry. To say I feel very badly let down by my doctor is an understatement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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