How can we tell if the pain is a rotator cuff problem?
A rotator cuff injury can cause dull, achy pain in the shoulder, especially when moving the arm overhead. There will be a restriction in motion of the arm to some degree. Typically, there is pain at the front of the shoulder that travels down the arm. For a more severe rotator cuff injury, with a partial or full tear, there can be sharp pain and weakness with a loss of motion in the shoulder. Overtime, if not addressed, there may be chronic restriction, joint stiffness, and tenderness of the shoulder.
Why do we get rotator cuff problems?
The rotator cuff is made up of many muscles, including the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These are known as the SITS muscles. These muscles, along with the triceps and biceps, help stabilize the the shoulder joint during overhead arm motions such as pitching, swimming, weightlifting, serving in racket sports, and repetitive day to day motions that involve a lot of weight or pressure on the arms. When there is instability in the SITS muscles as a result of an overuse injury or a sports injury, there will be rotator cuff problems.
How does Chiropractic help individuals recover from rotator cuff problems?
When the joints of the shoulder are out of alignment, they can irritate the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves associated with the misaligned area. Your local San Diego chiropractor will examine the shoulder, and depending on the results, will determine the degree of injury and if a specific chiropractic adjustment to the shoulder joint is necessary. In addition, your chiropractor will analyze the muscular balance of your shoulder and surrounding structures and suggest stretches/exercises to help balance these areas. In the case of a full tear, surgery should be considered. Your chiropractor will also examine the spinal segments of the neck. Misalignments in the neck may cause imbalances in the muscles and nerves of the shoulder, contributing to rotator cuff injury. If there is a segment misaligned in the neck, it will be gently moved back into place using a specific chiropractic adjustment.
What stretches and strengthening exercises will help for rotator cuff problems:
It is important to stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint to help balance and stabilize of the area. Be sure to stretch and strengthen both sides, but focus more on the affected side. It is best to have your San Diego chiropractor assess your shoulder for any muscle tears before starting these stretches and exercises.
Stretches and exercises should be done a minimum of twice a day holding the stretches for 60-90 seconds on each side. Spend more time on the injured side.