Symptoms of rotator cuff injuries can vary widely depending on the mechanism and specific injury. The rotator cuff is made up of 4 different muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis(SITS). Any of these muscles can be strained or torn resulting in pain that can range from a dull ache to a sharp excruciating pain. Often, persons with rotator cuff injuries have difficulties sleeping on the affected side, tenderness of the specific muscle(s), difficulties performing overhead tasks, and weakness or tingling in the arms and hands.
Your SITS muscles are responsible for initiating lifting of the arm to the side, externally and internally rotating your arm and, holding your humeral head in proper position within the shoulder joint. Falling on an outstretched hand (FOOSH) and lifting heavy objects can lead to rotator cuff injuries. Repetitive movements such as throwing a baseball or football can also lead to injuries of the rotator cuff. Overhead movements that become repetitive, including painting and carpentry, also increase your chances of developing an injured rotator cuff.
Use of ice daily will help reduce pain and inflammation in the event of developing rotator cuff injuries. Avoid sleeping on the affected side as well as overhead lifting or movements that may increase symptoms. In the event of severe rotator cuff tears, surgical intervention may be needed. Conservative care involving trigger point therapy to the affected muscles and chiropractic adjustments have shown to be effective for many rotator cuff injuries.