• Jason Pestel

Are you head and shoulders above the rest?

Updated: Jan 2

Everyday chores and activities can become increasingly painful and frustrating when you experience shoulder pain. If these symptoms continue, you may find is that you are suffering from a rotator cuff tear. Additional symptoms to shoulder pain can include:

  • loss of range of movement

  • significant muscle weakness

  • nagging discomfort particularly with overhead and reaching activities, (shoulder impingement)

The rotator cuff is made up of a group of four muscles that all work together in stabilising and mobilising the shoulder joint along with a number of ligaments. A tear can occur in anyone of these muscles; however the most common tear is found in the Supraspinatus (this controls the action of raising your arm sideways).

A rotator cuff tear can occur due to any of the following incidents:

  • a dramatic trauma or accident, for example where an overly heavy object is lifted or the individual falls awkwardly with the arm outstretched or through;

  • repetitive wear through a lifestyle/work activity, or for those involved in sports such as tennis, swimming or basketball where repetitive overhead arm actions and constant overloading can cause inflammation and micro-tears within the muscle fibres. Those over 40 are particularly susceptible.

Treatment strategies focus on reducing pain and inflammation. Firstly, any activities that require the use of the rotator cuff should initially be halted to prevent further damage.

Placing an ice pack on the area is advised to reduce pain and swelling. Ensure a thin towel is used to protect the skin from burns. This type of cold therapy can be applied 3-4 times daily until the swelling and pain subsides.

In addition to above the counter pain relief, your doctor can offer x-rays and MRI scans to diagnose the tear and also rule out more serious ailments such as fractures. They may also recommend a steroid injection to help manage the pain.

Once the pain and inflammation have subsided, rehabilitation can begin. This is where your sports therapist can help you back on the road to recovery in regaining mobility, strength and the ability to perform everyday tasks that we take for granted.

When treating your painful shoulder, a good therapist will test your range of motion, and perform muscle strength tests of individual muscles around the shoulder complex. Results from this analysis will give vital clues and form the basis of a rehabilitation plan.

This plan will help you to achieve pain free movement as soon as possible.

If you are suffering from some or all of the above issues and would like help with your recovery, please get in touch. You can email me, jasonpestel@hotmail.com or call on 07977 917331

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