Who's got a rotator cuff??? 🙋🏼♀️🙋🏼♀️
Often times, the rotator cuff is scapegoated for everyone’s shoulder pain, but some wear and tear is normal. How can you tell if you need to be worried?
First, let’s look at what the rotator cuff is. It’s a group of small muscles in the shoulder that connects the arm to the shoulder blade, holding it in place so that the ball and socket joint stays together (see image). As you might guess, this is an important job.The rotator cuff also includes tendons (which attach muscle to bone) and other connective tissue.
In most people over time, the rotator cuff sustains totally normal wear and tear.
Occasionally, this wear and tear can lead to problems that might land you in a physical therapist’s office. For instance, a wearing down of the tendon and/or muscles. In some cases, the tendon can even detach from the bone.
Even if the issue is less extreme, persistent irritation of tissues over time can cause pain. The amazing thing about our bodies is, many people live totally normal and pain-free lives, even with these types of ‘injuries.’ That’s because shoulders can figure out how to function in different ways, even when there is injury to a muscle or tendon.
A physical therapist may be able to help you discover modifications to your movements, often through subtle shifts, that can help alleviate some of your pain and keep you moving and active. The best way to assess whether exercises can help you is to do an in-person consultation with a physical therapist. (Or, a doctor might recommend you seek help from a PT.)
Either way, an in-person screening can help you far more than an internet article when it comes to assessing your own situation and prospect for improvement. Schedule your appointment today!