Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff pain and injury is most common in people older than 40 years of age and/or have a bone spur on their shoulder bone. Women tend to have a higher incidence of rotator cuff injuries. These injuries can also affect younger people who often participate in new or repetitive activities, are already injured and/or have chronic weakness in their shoulder.
Rotator Cuff Tendinitis and Bursitis
Overstraining the rotator cuff can lead to inflammation in your shoulder joint, which can result in (also spelled tendonitis) and bursitis. You can experience these conditions independently or simultaneously. Failure to take action against the inflammation can cause an impingement (pinching of the soft tissue), and produce further degeneration which frequently results in a major rotator cuff strain and/or tear. These injuries can often lead to surgery.
This mild inflammation can cause your rotator cuff tendons and bursa to swell and rub against or snag the acromion, or rub against a ligament at the front of your shoulder. When your arm is raised in a forward, reaching or overhead position the rotator cuff tendons and bursa can be pinched (impingement), which causes further swelling. Impingement syndrome occurs when your tendon and/bursa becomes pinched and tissue begins to break down near the humerus bone as a result of this inflammation and swelling. If this continues, your pain will get worse and your tendon may split or completely tear away from the bone.
Inflammation of your rotator cuff tendons or bursa will produce redness, swelling, and soreness in your shoulder soft tissue. Tendonitis is often due to overuse or repetitive actions common in athletes or workers who use frequent overhead arm movements such as throwing a ball, swinging a racquet, swimming, lifting weights, dusting high shelves, painting, or completing manual labor tasks. Decreased space in your rotator cuff will result from the above, as well as from anatomical differences in the shape of your shoulder bone, or arthritis. These will trigger pain, limit the use of your shoulder, and can lead to chronic tendonitis.
This condition is often referred to as Swimmer's shoulder, Pitcher's shoulder, Tennis Shoulder, or Shoulder impingement syndrome.
Rotator Cuff Instability
A muscle strength and flexibility imbalance or weakness, can cause instability and result in a subluxation or partial dislocation (your shoulder bones slide in and out of their sockets) or a full dislocation (the head of the arm bone slips out of the shoulder socket). These can cause a lot of pain and discomfort in your rotator cuff soft tissue. People with frequent dislocations often require surgery.
Shoulder instability which may have been present since birth or due to an injury, can also occur over time from overstraining, poor posture or inactivity. The rotator cuff is overworked, becomes weak and has difficulties stabilizing your shoulder, which in turn causes inflammation. If your rotator cuff becomes weak and tired, the head of your arm bone can squash up against the acromion and can result in a tear. This is often a major cause of rotator cuff tears in individuals over 40 years of age.
Rotator Cuff Strains or Tears
As you age, chronic degeneration can occur from repetitive motions breaking down the soft tissue and collagen (a fibrous connective tissue) in your rotator cuff. Degeneration may be caused by the development of calcium deposits, arthritic bone spurs or poor posture causing the acromion to rub on tendons or other soft tissue.
Rough or repetitive arm movements, especially when your shoulder is lifted to the limit of its natural range of motion, can weaken the tendons already experiencing tendonitis. This can lead to a tear in your tendon or muscle that is often difficult to repair surgically. Imagine your favorite jeans wearing out; they get more and more worn until the edges fray or a hole appears.
A rotator cuff acute trauma results from a sudden injury such as falling onto an outstretched arm, which can bruise, strain or tear your rotator cuff tendon or muscle at any age. Excessive force exerted by lifting or pulling something too heavy, pushing off an object vigorously with your arm, or making a forceful and abrupt forward throwing or overhead action, can also severely damage and tear your rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff injuries can also happen in conjunction with other shoulder injuries such as a fracture.
Types of Rotator Cuff Tears
A partial thickness tear of your tendon or muscle is not torn all the way through. This is related to chronic inflammation or impingement which results from the development of spurs on the underside of the Acromion (often require surgery to remove the bone spur).
A full thickness or complete tear is torn all the way through your tendon or muscle. This generally results from acute or sudden injuries, ongoing impingement, or degeneration of partial thickness tears.
A tendon torn from the bone often results from a traumatic injury or degeneration.
Rotator Cuff Treatments
Your initial treatment should involve decreasing any swelling, relieving any pain and stress on the rotator cuff, correcting any biomechanical dysfunction, and then restoring strength and mobility to your injured shoulder. It's also very important to follow any instructions you receive from your physician.
Allowing your shoulder to rest is recommended following injury, however, some careful shoulder movement is required to prevent the joint from freezing and losing range of motion. See your doctor or physical therapist for stretches that will not cause further injury to your rotator cuff. Avoid activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible.
The trick to healing your rotator cuff injury and getting your shoulder back in the best possible condition you can is getting it to heal quickly so there is minimal scar tissue. Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in previously injured rotator cuff tendons, muscles and ligaments. However, if you heal your tissue properly, your chance of re-injury or chronic shoulder conditions later on is much lower than average.
There are healing tools that can help treat your rotator cuff tendon, bursa, or other soft tissue and speed up the healing process so you can get back to a life without pain and risk of further injury. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) will promote blood flow to heal your tendons faster and more completely than any other methods available.
Although steroid injections may provide temporary relief from the pain of rotator cuff tendinitis, bursitis, and other injury they should
generally be avoided as they weaken the tendon and may lead to a rupture. If you do opt for an injection, doctors usually recommend that you do not participate in strenuous activities for several weeks to reduce the risk of a rupture.
Freezie Wrap® ColdCure Technology®
To decrease inflammation and relieve pain for a chronic or diagnosed rotator cuff injury doctor's recommend cold compression therapy. For an acute trauma, cold compression therapy within the first 48 - 72 hours and after any strain or re-injury is important to limit the amount of damage done to your tissue. For chronic pain, cold compression therapy will relieve pain and swelling as needed and will reduce, or even eliminate, the need for NSAIDs.
The Shoulder Freezie Wrap® is the cold compression tool you need treat your supraspinatus tendon, subacromial bursa, and other shoulder tissue in an effective and convenient way.
Cold Compression Therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through your tendon and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tissue, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to healyour injured tendon, bursa, muscle, labrum, or ligaments faster and with less pain!
The deep cooling effect provided by the Shoulder Freezie Wrap® slows cell metabolism thereby reducing cellular break-down and tissue damage. Furthermore, because the cold wraps gently numb the nerves, the wraps also reduce pain! The Shoulder Freezie Wrap® uses a supercharged cooling gel pack, that chills in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs, giving you deep cold therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn. The medical-grade wrap keeps the cold directly off your skin preventing cryoburn while delivering cold right where you need it.
Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
After severe inflammation and swelling is reduced you can begin to treat your rotator cuff tendon, bursa, labrum and other soft tissue with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®). BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your shoulder to nourish your tendons, ligaments and muscles to speed healing.
The rotator cuff naturally receives a limited blood supply and when you stop moving your shoulder because it hurts the blood flow is reduced even further, limiting your body's natural ability to heal itself.
By treating your rotator cuff with BFST® you can increase your body's blood supply to the shoulder and increase your body's natural healing power.
An Inferno Wrap® is the tool you need to treat your sore shoulder because it speeds healing and relaxes the surrounding muscles. With BFST®, tissues are safely and gently stimulated. Your body responds with a rapid increase in blood flow to the area, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to injured cells to promote healing. Our Shoulder Inferno Wrap® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
In addition, the improved blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from the injury. When you stop moving your arm and shoulder due to shoulder pain, your muscles and other tissue can become weaker and dead cells and toxins in the area can cause further tissue deterioration - this can lead to atrophy. By clearing the area of toxins and increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to your muscle and other tissue, the risk of atrophy (muscle weakness and/or deterioration) is greatly reduced. Keeping your upper arm, shoulder and rotator cuff tissue as healthy as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to improve shoulder strength again once your pain has gone and your injury has healed.
Click here to learn more about how BFST® and Inferno Wraps® work.
With these easy-to-use, home therapies, cold compression and BFST®, you will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your rotator cuff range of motion.
During your recovery, you may have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your rotator cuff area until your pain and inflammation settle, and you gain more mobility and strength in your shoulder. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Remember: We recommend that you consult your doctor and/or physiotherapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.
Physical therapy is a beneficial way to help decrease pain in the soft tissues, restore atrophied muscles and improve shoulder strength and mobility. The type of physical therapy and the duration will be dependent on your injury.
Once your pain starts to diminish, a physiotherapist can set up an individualized rotator cuff strengthening and stretching exercise program for you to perform at home or in the gym. This will be based on your needs and abilities, and will help you return to performing your normal routines.
Individuals will often lift weights on their own, to try and build up their shoulder strength. However, in doing so, they can do more damage to their shoulder. It is extremely important to strengthen your muscles properly, as they may have weakened during the period of non-use. A trained therapist will help to ensure your rehabilitation process is effective. For fast and effective results, use BFST® in conjunction with physical therapy and an exercise program.
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be used if required to help manage your pain and inflammation. However, these aren't recommended for long term use, as they can cause gastrointestinal difficulties. Some health professionals have also recommended natural supplements such as glucosamine, MSM or hyaluronic acid to help strengthen the injured tissue.
The use of a Shoulder Freezie Wrap® can greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the need for NSAIDs. Cold compression therapy is a natural, less harmful way to reduce your pain and inflammation.
Once the initial swelling has decreased, you can provide pain relief and improve your arm function by using an Inferno Wrap® to increase the blood flow to the area. Gentle massage around the injured area or small shoulder movements (if not painful) will also help increase blood flow, oxygen and nutrients and will prevent stiffness. To increase your comfort and prevent further damage, you may want to stabilize your arm by using a shoulder sling or brace to avoid unpredictable movements.
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.