Skip to content

So, What is the Rotator Cuff?

You need to reach behind you to pick something up and suddenly your arm feels like it just disconnected from the shoulder. You’ve got a really sharp pain in the shoulder and it hurts to lift overhead now. No problem, it should go away in a few days. But it doesn’t.

What is wrong?

Well it looks like you may have just strained your Rotator Cuff. That diagnosis by itself does not automatically mean you need to get lined up for surgery. In fact a majority of similar shoulder injuries and pain can be successfully treated with appropriate exercise and stretching.

The rotator cuff is a term used to describe 4 major muscles and 1 minor muscle that are used by your body to hold the arm into the shoulder socket. The shoulder has the distinction of being the most mobile joint in the body. It achieves this mobility by sacrificing some stability. The rotator cuff muscles help make up that lack of stability by being like dynamic ligaments that carefully hold the ball and socket joint together no matter what the arm position.

Normal wear and tear of the tendons does occur which ultrasound and MRI scans will pick up. This is usually described as partial or full thickness tears in the various tendons. Do not be alarmed if this is what your scan showed. One study of professional baseball pitchers demonstrated 40% of them had the same tears yet they had no pain or suffered problems playing their sports. The one case where diagnostic imaging is very helpful in regards to shoulder pains is to identify complete tendon ruptures. Those tend to need some form of surgical intervention.

So if you shoulder has limited range of motion, hurts to be in specific positions, is weak to perform specific activities or just plain aches at rest, give us a call at 360 Wellness. We can assess the cause of your problems and treat the injured tissues.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.