Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator cuff tears can be excruciating and can result in chronic disability if not treated correctly.

Rotator cuff tears can range from mild to severe, involving the group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons keep the head of your upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. When you injure your rotator cuff, you may feel a dull ache in the shoulder, which can become much worse when you sleep on the side which has the rotator cuff tear.

Causes of Rotator Cuff Tears

The primary cause of a rotator cuff tear is repeated, overhead motions with the arms, usually for a job or a sport. As an example, carpenters and painters are more likely to experience a rotator cuff tear than those in other jobs, and athletes who participate in baseball or tennis are more likely to experience a Rotator Cuff Tear than those in other sports. While rotator cuff tears are often the result of repetitive motions, they can also be the result of a single injury. If the tear occurs suddenly, you may feel a “tearing” feeling, along with sudden pain in the shoulder. Additional causes include:

  • Any rapid twisting movement of the shoulder joint
  • Any type of overstretching of the shoulder joint
  • Any repetitive motion which uses the four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder
  • Any sport which requires constant “throwing” motions, such as swimming, baseball, kayaking and bowling in cricket

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Rotator Cuff Tears

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:

  • A deep, dull ache in the shoulder
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Weakness in the arm
  • Difficulty getting dressed, combing your hair or reaching behind your back
  • Disturbed sleep, especially when you lie on the injured shoulder

In order to diagnose your rotator cuff tear, your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam, pressing on different parts of your shoulder, and asking you to move your arm into different positions. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, an ultrasound and/or an MRI.

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears

The goal will initially be to reduce your pain and inflammation by allowing the shoulder tissues to rest and heal. Icing the affected area may be helpful, and you should definitely stop sleeping on the affected side. At Seattle Pain, our interventional pain management specialists will work with you to develop a comprehensive pain treatment program to help manage your pain and heal your rotator cuff tear. When possible, we want to help you avoid surgery, and at Seattle Pain we accomplish this through the use of traditional and non-traditional treatments. Possible treatments include:

  • Stronger pain medications;
  • Steroid injections

Are you suffering from debilitating shoulder pain?

Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists

We understand that rotator cuff pain can make it impossible to do even the simplest tasks in your life. At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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