A rotator cuff tear is one of the most common shoulder injuries, affecting up to 22% of the general population. In addition, the likelihood of experiencing a rotator cuff injury increases with age. Rotator cuff injuries are most common in patients over 60.
Some rotator cuff tears can be asymptomatic, especially partial rotator cuff tears, which a patient can experience without pain. However, any tear in the rotator cuff weakens the shoulder and can make you more susceptible to further injury.
If you suspect you injured your shoulder, it is important to know what signs to watch out for that may suggest a rotator cuff injury and what you can do to treat it.
What Is the Rotator Cuff?
The shoulder connects the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade, and the collarbone through a ball-and-socket joint. The ball and socket joint fits the round head of the upper arm bone into the shoulder blade socket.
The rotator cuff consists of four muscles joined together with tendons to cover the head of the upper arm bone and hold it in the shoulder socket. The rotator cuff connects the humerus to the shoulder blade and is instrumental in lifting and rotating your arm.
Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear
The most obvious symptom of a rotator cuff tear is pain. Certain signals the body sends can help you identify that pain as the rotator cuff, such as the pain’s location and how your shoulder moves.
The pain originates at the shoulder’s front when you’ve injured your rotator cuff. Sometimes the pain radiates down the arm, following the flow of the nerves toward the hands.
Other signs of a rotator cuff tear include:
- Loss of range of motion
- Shoulder stiffness or rigidity
- Weakness or fatigue in the shoulder.
Since the rotator cuff is essential to mobility and stability in the shoulder, patients who struggle with raising their arms or reaching behind them may be suffering from a rotator cuff tear. Patients may also experience a popping or clicking sound when moving their shoulder or arm, as the rotator cuff injury prevents them from holding the arm bone in the socket.
Current Treatments for Rotator Cuff Injury
While surgery to repair the tear may be a common option for patients with severe tears, patients who experience a partial tear in their rotator cuff may find relief through rest, ice, and physical therapy.
Some patients opt for steroid injections to alleviate the pain of a rotator cuff tear, but these shots can weaken the tendon permanently.
Platelet-rich plasma injections have shown to help treat rotator cuff injuries without unwanted side effects, offering pain relief and restoring shoulder function. Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, may also offer patients new, non-surgical treatment options.
If you are suffering from a rotator cuff injury, exploring these regenerative medicine options may offer you relief.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions. The professionals at stemedix will break down exactly what is stem cell therapy.