man with rotator cuff injury

What to do if you get a rotator cuff injury

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that help to keep your arm in your shoulder socket. It’s core function is to help you lift and rotate your arm. Therefore a tear or injury to this muscle can severely limit your movement and your ability to perform daily activities. Not to mention, you might feel severe pain whenever you try to raise your arm.

Before we dive into what remedies you can use to treat a rotator cuff injury, lets examine the common causes.

Common Causes

There are many reasons why someone may experience a rotator cuff injury. It can develop overtime from repeatedly performing overhead motions. This is why it is common among athletes and construction workers. Some other common reasons may include:

  • Falling on your shoulder
  • Sleeping on your shoulder
  • Using poor technique to lift objects over your head
  • Wear and tear
  • Repetitive slouching 

Treatment

First Steps

Reducing pain and swelling will be your main priority following a rotator cuff injury. Some of the methods you can use to gain relief are:

  • Using the R.I.C.E method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). All you need to do is immediately stop any activities that may aggravate the shoulder and apply an ice pack to the affected area.
  • Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non steroid anti inflammatory drug) These drugs also help to reduce pain and swelling. However, you should consult with your doctor first because they can be addictive.

Other treatment options for rotator cuff injuries include:

  • Surgery – This can be a viable option for recovery depending on the severity of the injury and the ligaments that were damaged. If you’re experiencing prolonged or excruciating pain You should consult your doctor immediately. Some injuries can be an indication of more serious issues.
  • Physiotherapy – When your mobility improves you will want to start a physiotherapy program. Physiotherapy is important for recovery even if you’ve had surgery or you’re using the R.I.C.E method. This will help you strengthen your muscles and develop your range of motion in a safe controlled environment. You will be able to track your progress and make any changes needed to avoid further injury. In a matter of weeks to months (depending on the severity) you will be able do your daily activities free of pain.

Although you may be anxious to get back to your regular routine you should give yourself enough time to recover. At Activa Clinics, our physiotherapists will create a program for you consisting of various exercises and movements to help restore your physical health.

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