What Is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

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Perhaps you’ve heard of a rotator cuff tear before. It’s a painful condition that’s fairly common among sports athletes; however, rotator cuff tears may occur from natural wearing due to aging. Whether you’re a sports athlete or not, it’s important to educate yourself on this condition so you can take the necessary steps to prevent it. To learn more about rotator cuff tears, keep reading.

You might be surprised to learn that millions of Americans suffer from rotator cuff tears each year. In 2008, it’s estimated that over 2 million people visited their doctor’s office seeking treatment for this condition. When the rotator cuff is torn, inflamed or otherwise damaged, it can lead to severe pain and limited mobility, making it difficult for the individual to go about their daily life.

The rotator cuff is a series of muscles connected to the humerus and scapula. Among other things, it’s primary function is to help lift and rotate the arm (hence the name: rotator cuff). If you look closely at a diagram of the human body, you’ll notice there’s a fluid-filled sac, known as a bursa, between the rotator cuff and acromion. There human body contains numerous bursas, all of which are designed to serve the same basic purpose of lubricating bones so they glide more freely. However, rotator cuff injuries may directly affect bursas in the shoulder, leading to inflammation and swelling.

Rotator cuff tears are typically broken down into one of two different categories: acute and chronic. Acute rotator cuff tears are caused by sudden stress or impact, such as two football players colliding into one another on the field. The sheer force of this impact may cause the sensitive muscle group to tear, even if the players are wearing their appropriate safety pads. Lifting heavy objects with a jerking motion can also tear the rotator cuff, which is why it’s important to lift with your feet, not your back.

Chronic rotator cuff tears occur more slowly and are typically the result of poor biomechanics, muscular instability or general aging. As we age, the muscles and tendons in the shoulder become weaker, increasing the chance of a rotator cuff tear. Staying active and incorporating strength training exercises into your lifestyle will offer some protection against age-related rotator cuff tears. The stronger your shoulders, the less chance you’ll have of suffering from this condition.

There are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options available for rotator cuff tears. Before jumping the gun and signing up for a surgical procedure, individuals suffering from a torn rotator cuff should first seek the professional guidance of a chiropractor. They’ll use a combination of joint mechanic and muscuskeletal therapy to encourage the rotator cuff to heal on its own.

Call or email the staff at AtlantaChiroAndWellness.com to schedule an appointment.

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