What is the Rotator Cuff?
The Rotator Cuff are the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint that are responsible for shoulder movements such as rotation. The rotator cuff tendons attach these muscles to the bones of the arm. Rotator cuff injuries can arise from two different mechanisms: Blunt trauma, where there is a force that exceeds the capabilities of the rotator cuff tendons and the muscles separate from the bone or gradually, over time, where a continuous stress has been placed on the rotator cuff muscles and tendons due to repetitive motions from sports or work etc. Some common activities that might cause a rotator cuff injury are sports such as baseball, tennis, bowling, canoeing or kayaking etc. and landing on an outstretched arm during a fall or an awkward, heavy lift.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injuries:
- A sudden sharp tearing sensation in the affected shoulder
- Radiating pain up the arm to the fingers and up the neck
- Pain when raising the arm overhead
- Arm weakness
- Interference with daily activities like brushing hair
- Sleep disturbances
How are Rotator Cuff injuries diagnosed?
The diagnosis of any condition begins with an in depth health status history questionnaire, which will include a detailed account of the pain, what seems to make the injury better or worse, when you first started noticing problems, and how your day to day life is affected by the symptoms. You will then have a thorough and all-encompassing physical assessment where our Registered Healthcare Practitioner will look at your whole body but focus mainly on your neck and shoulder areas. Other diagnostic tests such as Ultrasounds or an MRI may be necessary to determine the extent of the injury.
Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment Options?
Physiotherapy is a non- invasive health modality that is considered essential to the outcome of this condition. The goal of any physiotherapy program is to help to reduce your pain, improve joint mobility and help you prevent any reoccurrences in the future by looking at the mechanism that has caused the injury. The Physiotherapist at the RNS Health & Wellness may wish to immobilize the affected joint with a sling. An exercise regime focusing on range of motion exercises as well as strengthening of the injured area will commence along with any of the following modalities: Ice or Heat therapy, TENS, IFC or NMES stimulations and our grade 4 deep tissue laser.
Chiropractic Care is another non-invasive health care modality looking at treating pain and inflammation of current injuries and preventing future injuries. The Chiropractor at RNS Health & Wellness Centre might prescribe a sling to help rest the injured shoulder. A chiropractic treatment would include manual therapy with hands involving mobilization and stretching, muscle relaxation and/or stimulation using various modalities such as TENS, IFC, ultrasound and our Grade 4 Deep Tissue laser. The Chiropractor will educate you on proper positioning and body mechanics to help to try to avoid this injury process in the future.
Massage therapy is a fully hands on manipulation of the body’s soft tissues. The massage therapist will determine the exact muscles involved in the injury using specific muscle resistance testing. The Registered Massage Therapist at RNS Health & Wellness Centre will help to relax and stretch the injured muscles, reduce your overall stress and help the circulatory and lymphatic systems drain properly thus removing waste and metabolizing by-products more efficiently. Some common massage techniques used are Effleurage, Petrissage and Stripping- especially the lateral rotator muscles and circular frictions.
The RNS Health & Wellness Centre’s Rehabilitation Program
At RNS Health & Wellness Centre, we understand that everyone is different and every injury process is unique. We use YOUR rate of recovery as a guideline for our treatment protocols. We believe in utilizing an all-encompassing, multi-disciplinary approach to rehabilitation and health care. We have highly skilled, friendly and knowledgeable Healthcare Practitioners who work together as a team to help you regain your lifestyle. We treat the whole human when an injury occurs utilizing every health modalities strengths. Our focus at RNS Health & Wellness Centre is to help you reduce your pain and inflammation using ice and/ or heat and electrical stimulation treatments such as IFC, TENS, Ultrasound and our Grade 4 Deep Tissue laser. Our therapists will have a very hands on treatment approach to your care, taking into account YOUR treatment goals. Once our Physiotherapist, Chiropractor and/ or Registered Massage Therapist deems your condition is stable, you will be introduced to our state of the art gym, where you will instructed on proper posture and body mechanics during exercises that will help you to keep you safe throughout your exercises and day to day activities. A home exercise program will be developed by the rehabilitation team at RNS Health & Wellness Centre and given to you to help prepare you to go back to work if possible and/ or to help you keep safe and healthy once discharged.