Rotator Cuff tears are often caused by long-term shoulder impingement and will present as pain on shoulder movements, lifting your arm forwards or straight out to the side.  The main difference between a shoulder impingement and a rotator cuff tear is the amount of weakness in the joint, although they can present very similarly.

Rotator cuff tears can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • overuse over time from repetitive actions such as swimming, painting, lifting or throwing;
  • an injury, such as a fall or a knock to the shoulder;
  • natural wear and tear from ageing.

There is a very high incidence of rotator cuff tears in women that correlates to age.  Close to 50% of 50yo women and 70% of 70yo women (with this trend continuing as age increases) have a rotator cuff tear.  Due to this trend, for women over 50yo, it could be considered normal "wear and tear" to have a rotator cuff tear so, in this age group, an MRI is not usually significant.

Symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • shoulder pain and weakness, particularly when lifting your arm above your head, often experienced when brushing hair or getting dressed;
  • swelling may or may not be evident and in some cases can be internal, which causes a lot of the pain;
  • you may hear popping, clicking or cracking sounds when moving the shoulder, especially when lifting something heavy.

Initial care - things to try at home:

  • avoid painful movements and stretching through the front of the shoulder;
  • if experiencing shoulder pain while lying on your back put a small cushion or rolled up towel under the elbow to relieve the pressure on the shoulder;
  • icing the shoulder for ten minutes before bed may provide some relief, if you are experiencing pain when sleeping.

Our approach to solving your problem:

  1. We use soft tissue therapy techniques to loosen the muscles that are tight and putting pressure on the area through the rotator cuff, the front of the shoulder and around the back of the shoulder blade.
  2. Kinesiology tape is often used to improve shoulder posture.
  3. You will be provided with some exercises and stretches to strengthen the shoulder muscles.

We will then create a management plan specific to you to help you to:

  • help settle the pain;
  • strengthen the area;
  • address the causative factors;
  • get you back to the activities that you enjoy!

If you would like one of our Soft Tissue Therapists to assist with your recovery from a rotator cuff tear, give us a call on 9894 2463 or book online to make an appointment.