We see a lot of patients with rotator cuff injuries, so I just wanted to share a couple of things with you today. Many of these shoulder injuries are chronic in nature and often prevent people just like you… from living a normal active life.
The rotator cuff (the muscles around your shoulder) consist of muscles designed to basically HOLD your shoulder joint together. They are Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor, Teres major and the Subscapularis (which we doctors call the SITS muscles).
The SITS muscles are small muscles. A healthy set of shoulder muscles allows you to play golf, bowl, throw a ball, swim, play tennis, sleep comfortably and even comb your hair. An injured set of these muscles compromises all the muscles in the shoulder region. The rotator cuff helps you to pull the arm bone down into the joint when the arm is raised to the side. This prevents the arm bone from banging into the shoulder blade. It also works in slowing down the shoulder joint when throwing a ball and swinging a club.
Another way that the shoulder is injured is during weight lifting. Many weight lifters have or have had a shoulder injury. Many popular lifting techniques actually cause damage to the shoulder muscles. One exercise that should be eliminated is the upright rows. Bench pressing is another one. Bench pressing with a straight bar also causes the shoulder to slip into a bad position due to the little work required of the SITS muscles to hold the joint together. It is better to use dumb-bells which force the rotator cuff muscle to hold the shoulder together. Dumbell pullovers should also be avoided. This places great stress on the shoulder joint and also puts the shoulder in a position in which it be easily dislocated.
There are many injuries that can occur to the shoulder joint and muscles including: tears, tendonitis, and impingement to name a few. If you let your shoulder go too long with an injury, scar tissue can set in, and if not treated correctly and aligned properly with adjustments, and the proper therapy, it can result in something called a frozen shoulder.
When your (rotator cuff muscles) shoulder is injured, pain is most often felt over the deltoid -shoulder muscle. Often there will be a referral type pain down your arm into your hand. To help support and prevent further injury a lot of people start to put their hand in their pocket. This starts to set up something called “adhesions” between the muscles, nerves, tendons and fascia.
Think of these adhesions as tiny little hairs that prevent the muscle from sliding on each other. One way to help the scar tissue lay out in such a way that this creates as few adhesions as possible. The best way is to passively stretch your shoulder, and we’ll help you do that when you’re here.
This stretch allows the scar tissue in your shoulder to lay down in the direction of the muscle. This allows your muscles to keep a better range of motion.
So what should you do if you hurt your shoulder? First, do not keep trying to work through the pain. Second, get some professional help by calling my office immediately, so that we can examine you and find out if you need rehab on your shoulder, so we can start helping as quick as possible. Third, when you’re not in the office, use ice - - not heat. I’ll go over the frequency when we talk at your exam..
Here’s something else to remember. If you would like to avoid surgery and finally get some sleep from your nagging shoulder, CALL my office (734-677-0111) and make an appointment. My staff will get you in as soon as possible so you can get some relief. Stay healthy and call with any questions.