What is Rotator Cuff Pain?
If you find it hard to move you arm above your head due to a shooting and sharp pain in the shoulder area, chances are, you may be having rotator cuff tendinitis. Rotator cuff tendinitis is a medical condition wherein the rotator cuff or the muscles and joints surrounding the shoulder become inflamed and torn from either injury or overuse. This condition can be due to a lot of factors including keeping your arm in the same position for a long period of time, sleeping on the same side, playing sports that require your arm to be stretched above your head, keeping your arm overhead for long periods of time and poor coordination and tone of your shoulders and its muscles. Rotator cuff tendinitis can also be due to poor posture and aging.
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Rotator cuff pain may also be due to rotator cuff tears. These tears may result due to weight lifting and overuse and may be sudden or chronic. Sudden tears may be due to lifting heavy objects while chronic tears may be due to chronic tendinitis and nerve impingement. Tears may also be partial, meaning the attachments of the bone are not fully torn, or it may be complete, as in complete detachment of the muscle from the bone. The pain that results from this condition usually comes from the front of the shoulder and may radiate to one side if the arm until the elbow. Upon lowering the shoulder from being raised, pain also starts. Initially the pain may appear during certain movements; however as time goes by, pain may also occur during rest or even during sleep. This may bother the person from time to time.
If you think that you may have rotator cuff pain, don't despair. Here are some things that you can do to ease your pain.
Your doctor may recommend cortisone shots that may reduce inflammation. However there may be side effects such as weakening of tendons or cartilage in the shoulder joints.
Your doctor may also recommend surgery to remove bony spurs and bursitis. Surgery may also repair rotator cuff tears. Surgery may last for 2 hours and can bring about recovery within 2 to 6 weeks
You can try transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS, a method which uses electrodes to give out an electrical current. This delivers a pulsated pins and needles sensation to the shoulder due to the stimulation of nerve endings that will end your pain. This method also triggers the release of endorphins that can help relieve pain. To order tens click here : Electronic Pulse Massager
Ultrasound and Heat
Ultrasound and heat can help relieve inflammation and can speed up the healing process in rotator cuff injuries. Heat can also relieve muscle spasms and restore joint range of motion. You can apply a heating pad to your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes before you stretch your shoulder joint to minimize pain and to facilitate mobility.
An ice pack can also come in handy for rotator cuff pains. It can decrease swelling, reduce inflammation and relieve pain. You can apply ice for 15 minutes then repeat every hour until the pain subsides.
Stretching can mobilize the stiffness of shoulders and can improve the range of motion. Stretching exercises focusing on the shoulder should be performed daily. One such exercise is the pendulum, in which you bend down and dangle your affected arm as you make circles with it. You can also perform the wall slide as follows: face a wall and run your affected hand on the wall up and down so as to wash the wall.
Acupuncture and Yoga
If the above methods failed to provide pain relief, you can try acupuncture. In some studies, acupuncture given for 4 weeks has reduced pain from rotator cuff in some subjects. Alternative medicine practitioners explain that rotator cuff pain may be due to blood blockages that may be healed by acupuncture. If acupuncture fails, you can try yoga.
If you want to know more how to get rid of pain, you can check out our other articles on this site.