Best Ways to Reduce Pain and Tightness from a Torn Rotator Cuff

The shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in our body that provides us with the greatest range of motion, and hence in turn is arguably the weakest joint in the body and most commonly injured. The shoulder is such a small group of muscles that many of us see as relatively insignificant, unless you have the unfortunate luck of injuring it at one point or another.

preview-full-shutterstock_510595405If you have injured your shoulder before you know how important it is in not just doing complex things like performing pull ups or throwing a football, but also simpler things like tying your shoes or getting dressed.

The rotator cuff, or the group of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder together are what allows the shoulder to function with the wide range of motion that it does.

When you tear your rotator cuff, which is one of the most common shoulder injuries in athletes, you lose the ability to use your shoulder because the bones are essentially just hanging there with nothing holding them in place.

How Do I Know if I Have a Rotator Cuff Problem?

If you think you tore your rotator cuff, there are some signs that may be able to determine it one way or another. One major indication is extreme pain which onsets immediately, and may even be accompanied by a tearing or ripping like sound.

If this happens, your arm will immediately drop and you will feel it just drooping there. These signs are pretty obvious, and are an indication that not only have you torn one tendon but multiple if not all the tendons holding your shoulder in place. This is obviously the worst case scenario.

In other situations a small tear will occur which can develop over time. The symptoms of this type of tear are less severe and more difficult to identify. In some cases the pain will be very mild and you will only notice it when you are really exerting yourself like during exercise, otherwise it feels fine.

One of the best indications of a rotator tear is pain at night when you are trying to sleep. This is because you aren’t doing anything else at that time that could potentially be causing pain, and are exerting yourself the least. If you are experiencing pain during rest for more than a week you should go see a doctor.

What Treatments are Available for a Torn Rotator Cuff?

First before you start treating your shoulder you want to be certain that it is a torn rotator cuff which can be determined by getting an MRI, CT scan or an X-ray. In some cases the tear may be so bad that the doctor may be able to tell by conducting a simple arc test.

preview-full-shutterstock_217216498After you determine that you do indeed have a torn rotator cuff there are some steps you can take to improve your recovery time. To do so, first you want to reduce the inflammation and swelling as much as possible which will not only reduce pain but help you recover faster.

To do this you are going to want to ice your shoulder as soon as possible, with a towel or some sort of barrier between the ice and your skin. Additionally if the pain and inflammation is really bothering you, you can get a cortisone shot from your doctor which will block the nerve pain.

Next, you are going to want to rest your shoulder as much as possible. Inevitably you are going to have to use your shoulder at some point or another, just remember that the more you do the more it become inflamed and the longer it will take to recover. Avoid activities like basketball and baseball that require you to use your shoulder often.

Lastly you want to seek therapy from a physical therapist. A physical therapists will employ various treatments over a long period of time which will rehabilitate the shoulder and strengthen it as it is able.

Physical therapy involves slowly building the shoulder back up through a combination of things like weight training, and electrotherapy. Occupational therapy is another good suggestion as the therapist can accurately assess the damage done to the joint ,the ability or inability of the injured person to carry out daily tasks, and also their capacity to perform at work as well.