Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine, American Board of Osteopathic Physical Medicine and Pain Management
Shoulder Pain Q & A
What is a Rotator Cuff?
A rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and connective tissues that cover the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. The rotator cuff stabilizes the joint and helps to maintain the strength and integrity of the shoulder joint. When the shoulder is hyperextended or damaged in any way, the rotator cuff is normally the area of the injury. When the connective tissues of the rotator cuff become stretched, the ability to adequately move or lift the arm can be compromised. In some cases, the tendons and ligaments are torn. When this occurs, surgery to repair the rotator cuff may be needed to help correct the damage and allow the shoulder to function efficiently.
How do Shoulder Injuries Occur?
Shoulder injuries occur in several different ways. The most common type of injury when it comes to the shoulder is a repetitive motion injury. A repetitive motion injury is caused by repeatedly making the same motions with the shoulder over and over and over again. The repeated movements can cause unnatural wear and tear on the joint leading to pain and inflammation. Another common shoulder injury is falling on the joint when the arm is at an odd angle. This puts pressure on the rotator cuff as well as the socket of the joint. In either situation, the end result is inflammation, pain, limited range of motion, and reduced mobility.
How are Shoulder Injuries Treated?
Doctors have many ways to effectively treat shoulder injuries. Physical therapy, and in severe cases, rotator cuff surgery, are the old standbys. With today’s advancements in medicine, doctors can now use platelet rich plasma and stem cell injections to help rejuvenate damaged tissues and speed up the healing process. Laser therapies, like radiofrequency ablation, may also prove to be beneficial in certain situations. With so many available options, doctors can choose several different treatment methods to create a state of the art pain management plan that not only relieves pain and inflammation but also hastens the healing process allowing the patient to return to their lives much sooner.