Rotator Cuff Pain, Tears and Injuries

A recent research study showed that even a complete tear wasn’t very likely to get bigger. In this study, 24 patients who had full-thickness supraspinatus tears and who opted to forego surgery were tracked over time. In 2 of the 24 patients, the rotator cuff tear completely healed on its own.

Be described as a dull ache deep in the shoulder. Disturb sleep, particularly if you lie on the affected shoulder. Make it difficult to comb your hair or reach behind your back. Be accompanied by arm weakness.

Conservative treatments — such as rest, ice and physical therapy — sometimes are all that’s needed to recover from a rotator cuff injury. Wearing a shoulder brace can also speed up the recovery. If your injury is severe and involves a complete tear of the muscle or tendon, you might need surgery.

Usually, a rotator cuff can heal in 2 to 4 weeks. But if your tendinitis is severe, it could take months.

The tendon damage is too severe: If the rotator cuff tear is very large (a massive rotator cuff tear) and has been present for a long time, there is a chance that surgical repair is not possible. … In this situation not only is a rotator cuff tear present, but the shoulder joint has become arthritic.

To analyze a rotator cuff tear, an MRI would usually be performed, unless it is contraindicated, such as by a pacemaker. The rotator cuff cannot be evaluated on a non-contrast CT nor on an intravenous contrast CT. … Above: the needle for the injection is visible in the shoulder in this CT image.


Rotator cuff tendon tears often cause pain at night. The pain may even wake you. During the day, the pain is more tolerable, and usually only hurts with certain movements. Over time, the symptoms become much worse and are not relieved by medicines, rest, or exercise.

The minimum time for recovery from rotator cuff tendinitis or a small tear is generally two to four weeks, and stubborn cases can take several months. Early on, the aim is to reduce swelling and inflammation of the tendons and relieve compression in the subacromial space.

How is a rotator cuff tear diagnosed? To find out if you have a torn rotator cuff, your doctor will start with a history of the injury and a physical examination of the shoulder. X-rays, to see if the top of your arm bone (humeral head) is pushing into your rotator cuff space.

Rotator cuff tear complications

If left untreated, a rotator cuff tear can severely restrict function and range of motion. The tears can also increase over time. This may cause partial rotator cuff tears to progress to total tears.

If the symptoms have only been going on for a few days, this problem will often go away on its own. After several weeks or months, patients will generally require anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and time away from lifting to allow the rotator cuff pain to settle down.

Lie down on the side opposite your injured arm. Bend the elbow of your injured arm to 90 degrees and rest the elbow on your side. Your forearm should rest across your abdomen. Hold a light dumbbell in the injured side’s hand and, keeping your elbow against your side, slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling.


But it also can happen suddenly if you fall on your arm or lift something heavy. Your rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize your shoulder joint and let you lift and rotate your arms. … A partial tear is when one of the muscles that form the rotator cuff is frayed or damaged.

Typically, you will feel pain in the front of your shoulder that radiates down the side of your arm. It may be present with overhead activities such as lifting or reaching. … If the tear occurs with injury, you may experience acute pain, a snapping sensation, and immediate weakness of the arm.

  1. Sit in a reclined position. You may find sleeping in a reclined position more comfortable than lying flat on your back. …
  2. Lie flat on your back with your injured arm propped up with a pillow. Using a pillow may help reduce stress and pressure on your injured side.
  3. Lie on your uninjured side.

“Some people have food sensitivities to things one would assume are anti-inflammatory, but may not be for each person,” she says.

The 7 Foods That Relieve Joint Pain
Pineapple.
Salmon. Several studies have shown that omega-3 fish oils can reduce symptoms of arthritis.
Turmeric.
Ginger.
Hot peppers.
Garlic.
Cherries.

The severity of injury may range from a mild strain and inflammation of the muscle or tendon, which will lead to no permanent damage, to a partial or complete tear of one of the rotator cuff muscles that might require surgery for rotator cuff repair.

The other major reason patients have pain after rotator cuff surgery is due to the stiffness of that shoulder. It is common after rotator cuff surgery to have some stiffness due to the fact that the operation caused the arm to be held without motion for some time.