Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. If you’ve never experienced a rotator cuff injury, consider yourself lucky! This condition leads to pain and dysfunction that carries over into all aspects of one’s life.
Luckily, chiropractic care can help people with rotator cuff injuries reduce their pain, improve function, and reclaim their lives. So, let’s take a deeper look at rotator cuff injuries and explore how chiropractic care might be the perfect solution to this troublesome ailment.
Rotator Cuff Background
The rotator cuff is made up of four separate muscles (and their corresponding tendons). These muscles are known as the infraspinatus, the teres minor, the subscapularis, and the supraspinatus.
Each of these muscles serves a unique function within the shoulder complex. However, they function as a unit to keep the shoulder stable.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff tendon injuries, or strains, are usually graded on a scale. A grade I strain is slight fraying of the tendon. Most patients recover from these injuries without intervention. Grade II tears are more serious, and patients need to consider their treatment options. Grade III tears are complete ruptures in which the tendon is completely separated from its attachment points.
Of the four rotator cuff muscles, the supraspinatus is the one that is most commonly injured. This is due to its unique position and the stresses the average person puts on this tendon throughout the day.
Rotator cuff injuries can occur due to a variety of causes. For instance, one or more of these muscles/tendons can be damaged due to excess strain, improper posture, or even medication usage.
Excess strain on the rotator cuff is easy to imagine. This type of injury usually occurs when someone attempts to lift something too heavy for them to handle.
Posture-related rotator cuff injuries generally occur in office workers or those who “slump” often throughout the day. By rounding the shoulders for many hours on end, these patients force a portion of the shoulder blade (the acromion) into the space occupied by a rotator cuff tendon. Therefore, as they move their arm over time, the bone rubs on the tendon, causing wear and tear.
In rare situations, medications can specifically target tendons throughout the body. Specifically, fluoroquinolones have been associated with the potential for tendon tears.
Common Rotator Cuff Injury Treatments
Usually, if the rotator cuff is torn, most patients will opt to have the tear repaired surgically. However, depending on the extent of the injury, surgery isn’t always necessary.
In fact, many patients with small rotator cuff tears can minimize their symptoms with simple treatments, including exercise, stretching, and retraining the shoulder muscles.
Chiropractic Care and Rotator Cuff Injuries
As was mentioned previously in this article, many rotator cuff injuries stem from poor posture.
Fortunately, chiropractors are experts at correcting posture through spinal manipulations. By targeting specific areas of the spine and reducing subluxations, chiropractors can help patients recover from rotator cuff injuries or prevent them from ever occurring. This is because spinal manipulations improve range of motion throughout the body and enable the shoulder to move as it should.
These spinal adjustments can also improve the connection between the nervous system and the injured area. In doing so, the body can have a better means of healing itself.
Have you suffered from a rotator cuff tear? Are you experiencing shoulder pain and aren’t sure where to turn? If you answered yes to either of these questions, schedule your appointment with your Parker chiropractor at Awaken Chiropractic. We are well-equipped to help you recover and are currently welcoming new patients.