Rotator Cuff Pain: Anatomy & Kinesiology of the Shoulder
The rotator cuff of the shoulder is made up of four muscles: subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and the teres minor. Beneath these muscles lie one of the most complex and mobile joints in the human body. The shoulder (glenohumeral) joint is formed by the convex humeral head gliding in the concave glenoid fossa during active motion. The shoulder joint is the ultimate multi-tasker! It allows movement in all three anatomical planes of motion with movements of flexion, scaption, extension, internal rotation, external rotation, abduction, adduction, circumduction, horizontal abduction. With so much available motion, it increases it makes the shoulder more prone to injury.
There are many causes of shoulder injury. It can start with something as simple as sitting at a desk for school or work, poor posture, develop from overuse, heavy lifting, or be job-related if performing many overhead activities (mechanic, plumber, electrician, construction worker, painter). It’s also possible to suffer a torn rotator cuff from car accident, or other similar sudden trauma. The most common type of shoulder injury is a rotator cuff strain. The definition of a strain is a stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. A rotator cuff strain is described as having pain in the shoulder that limits performance of daily activities such as lifting light/heavy objects, reaching, overhead use, or even just getting dressed. With physical therapy, a strain can be treated without means of surgery due to the fact that strains are most often no greater than a partial tear, as opposed to a full tear where the muscle/tendon completely breaks free. A full thickness tear may require a rotator cuff repair to restore function.
Physical Therapy (PT) is the best way to treat a rotator cuff injury. The purpose of PT is to improve the function of the muscles that surround the shoulder. When working out, most people only strengthen a few of the large muscles around the shoulder. PT helps target the smaller yet very important muscles around the shoulder that are most often neglected. PT can help compensate for damaged tendons, improve the mechanics of the shoulder joint and restore a more normal glenohumeral alignment and strength to restore mobility and function. PT offers a wide range of treatment options such as therapeutic exercise for strengthening, manual therapy (passive stretching or shoulder joint mobilizations by the Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant), modalities (ice, electrical stimulation, ultrasound), and postural training.
If you are having shoulder pain, please come see us for a free consultation to see how we can assist you in your recovery. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours.
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care. Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.