The shoulder joint is what keeps your arm attached to your body and helps you make necessary movements. The rotator cuff is the muscle and tendons that are around your shoulder joints. It keeps your upper arm bone in the socket of your shoulder. However, you can injure this muscle, so; you need to know the rotator cuff tear symptoms to treat them.
These types of injuries are prevalent as you get older—moreover, those of you who perform motion regarding overhead weight carrying. You can treat your rotator cuff tear with therapy and get back to what you are doing in most cases. Treatment also improves strength and flexibility in the muscle. However, a tear in the rotator joints is very painful, and you need to very careful if you see any symptoms regarding that.
So, we came forth with this article to help you determine the symptoms you cloud and might face or see if you’re accidentally tearing your rotator cuff.
Rotator Cuff Tear What is it?
A rotator cuff is the group of muscles you have around your shoulder joints, and if you accidentally rip or tear those muscles and tendons, you have a torn rotator cuff. Medical physicians also call it complete tear or full-thickness tear.
You will see two types of tear on your rotator cuffs if you accidentally tear them. The first one is a partial tear. It is ubiquitous, and almost anyone who pulls their rotator cuffs generally is a partial tear. Another one is the complete tear of the rotator cuff muscles. It is a complete tear on the muscles and tendons. This type of injury goes through the tendons. It is common amongst athletes such as – baseball players, tennis players, basketball players, football players, and if you are involved in works like cleaning works.
Rotator cuff tear generally happens when you get older. As you get older, the bones’ tendons get weaker, and it is very natural if you have some pain moving your arms. That is one of the symptoms that you will face if you have a rotator cuff tear. You need to know when you see the rotator cuff tear symptoms to get the necessary treatments as quickly as possible.
Symptoms Indicating a Torn Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff tear symptoms are very subtle, and most of the time, you will not be able to notice until you feel too much pain. Moreover, if you have torn your rotator cuff, you will not feel that much pain if it is severe. If the case is not painful, your tendons will repair themselves, and the symptoms will not be so appealing to you. However, there are some symptoms that you will see if you have a torn rotator cuff –
- You will have trouble moving your hand. When you tore your rotator cuffs, you will see a slight pull on the muscles and a bit of pinching pain when you move your arms. That is because the tissues tear, and either it needs time to get better, or you will need to see a physician.
- When you move your hands in a certain way or lie on that side, you feel pain. The tendons tear, and when you put pressure on it, especially on that part, your shoulder starts to cause you pain.
- You will face weakness in your shoulders. As the muscle and tendons surround the shoulders, it will make your shoulders weak if it tears. If the muscles around the shoulders are damaged, you will not feel the strengths there.
- Issue lifting something that you have no problem with usually. When you tear your rotator cuffs, you will face sudden pinches and pain when you try to lift something you had no issues with before. Typically bodybuilders or weightlifters go through this problem in their professional carrier. If they tore their rotator cuffs while working out, they feel a tremendous amount of pain when they lift weights.
When you move your arms, you will hear some popping or clicking sounds.
When the tendons tear, the nitrogen bubbles tend to cover up that gap, and you will pop it when you move your arms. However, as the cuffs get better, the gap fills up and removes the nitrogen bubbles there. It is the nitrogen bubbles that makes the popping or the clicking sound when you move your arms. Moreover, as the tissues are damaged, they create pain in your shoulders when the bubbles pop.
- Having pain in your body also disrupts your sleep too. If you have a torn cuff and put pressure on it while you sleep, you will face ache there, resulting in ruining your sleep. Although some research shows that your body has too much pain when doing anything, your mind shuts down your body, which puts you to sleep. However, having pain on your shoulders will eventually disrupt your sleep if there is significant damage.
- Bursitis is also very common when you have injured your rotator cuffs. The inflammation of the bursa causes it. When you damage your rotator cuffs, fluid-filled sacs fill those gaps along with nitrogen bubbles. These fluid sacs cause bursitis on your shoulders.
- You will face trouble reaching your back if you have an injury on your rotator cuffs. Your shoulders will ache when you continuously try to work with your damaged cuffs. When you try to reach your back, the injured shoulders get strains and cause more prominent and continuous pain.
Rotator cuff tear symptoms may not be that noticeable as it is very subtle pain most of the time. However, you have to be careful about the above symptoms to avoid any permanent injury in your life.
How to Treat a Torn Rotator Cuff
If you face the rotator cuff tear symptoms from above and continue to ignore it, you will further damage your shoulders. A torn rotator cuff tends to get larger if you always put pressure on it without any treatment. Consider a doctor earlier, as the pain will only increase over time. Moreover, it could get to a point when you cannot use your arm in any situation. So, consult a physician when you see any of these symptoms, and it will get better much quicker than staying at home resting.
The main goal for treating a torn rotator cuff is to reduce pain and restore your shoulders’ functions without any significant issues. However, there are several treatments according to your pain and the amount of damage. Moreover, you will have to consider your age. As different ages take different treatments due to age issues, and another thing is how active are you in your regular day to day life.
You have two types of treatments that you can consider to fix your rotator cuffs. One is a nonsurgical treatment, and another is a surgical treatment. We recommend surgical treatment as it shows better and quicker results than nonsurgical treatments.
Surgical treatment –
Most of the time, doctors recommend you go for surgery when you have an issue with your rotator cuffs. However, some indicators need to be present before going into surgery for your rotator cuff, such as –
- The rotator cuff injury symptoms have to around your body from 6 to 12 months at least.
- It has to be a bigger tear or a wholly torn rotator; moreover, the muscle’s tissue quality must be good enough to use those tissues for a temporary repair.
- There should be weakness and loss of function in your shoulders.
- The injury has to be relatively recent.
- Nonsurgical treatment –Almost 80% of the cases are treated with nonsurgical treatments as it relieves the pain and restores the functions of your shoulders. Nonsurgical treatment includes –
- Modifications of your activity. If you have a damaged shoulder, you will have to make some adjustments to your activity not to stress your rotator cuff and give it ample time to recover.
- Rest is what the doctors will recommend you to do mostly. Resting and limiting your shoulder movements will allow the damaged area to repair.
- Medications or drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen reduce the swelling around the muscle and relieve the pain. These nonsteroidal medications are beneficial if you do not wish to put steroids in your body.
- Exercises and physical therapy is another nonsurgical treatment which doctors recommend. Some specific exercises help to restore blood circulation on the damaged area and bring back your lost strength on your shoulders. Moreover, stretches and some general activities build the muscle’s flexibility and reduce cramps.
Causes and Risk Factors
According to physicians, there are two particular ways that you can tear your rotator cuffs. One is injuring yourself by playing or being in an unfortunate accident. Another thing is, wearing down your rotator cuff muscles over time. It is common in most people as they age.
If you have a torn rotator cuff, then there are few risk factors that you will have to navigate to do not do further damage to your cuffs.
- If you are a construction worker or a painter, or someone who does physical works daily, you have far more risk to further damage your shoulders.
- Lack of blood supply to the muscle group can also cause a tear on your rotator cuffs. As we get older, our rotator cuffs get less blood. Then, it causes the cuffs to tear due to less blood supplied to the muscles.
- Age again comes to play, as you can have an overgrown bone on your shoulder. It is common for older age people, and it wears down your cuff muscles.
- If you are an athlete, then you will, at some point, will face shoulder injuries. It mostly happens to basketball players, tennis players, wrestlers. Sports that put stress on your shoulder can easily damage your rotator cuff.
FAQs for Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms
- How do I know if I have damaged my rotator cuff?
Rotator cuff tear symptoms, which we stated above, are the things you need to know. It will help you to determine whether if you have a damaged rotator cuff or not. However, here it is in short –
- Pain in your shoulders.
- Cannot rotate or move the arm in specific ways.
- Sleeping difficulties.
- Weak shoulder.
- Can a torn rotator cuff heal on its own?
If the injury is minor and there is so much pain that it causes too much problem for you, it could heal if you take enough rest and medications. Although, in most cases, rotator cuffs do not heal on their own. You have to be active and avoid overhead activities.
- How long does it take for a torn rotator cuff to heal without surgery?
Suppose you go for a stem cell recovery treatment than take 1 or 2 days before starting your regular day to day life. However, it is far better and quicker if you apply stem cell treatment with physical therapy.
Conclusion of Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms
Shoulder injuries or rotator cuff injuries are very painful to through. However, some people go through this pain without medical help because they think it is a minor problem, and there is nothing to worry about. That is why you need to know the rotator cuff tear symptoms to get the necessary help at the right time.
That is the primary purpose of our article to understand the cuff in pain better; moreover, knowing when you need to get the necessary help.