When you think of a torn rotator cuff, a repetitive sport’s injury probably comes to mind. “Pitchers Shoulder” and “Tennis Shoulder” are common terms for a torn rotator cuff. Although this injury is common in athletes like pitchers and tennis players, sports isn’t the only way that a rotator cuff can be torn. A torn rotator cuff can leave you with a shoulder that doesn’t function properly.
Sports related tears happen gradually over time and are known as “chronic” tears. An “acute” tear on the other hand happens with a sudden jerking motion. A rotator cuff is often torn quickly like this when you are in a car accident and requires medical care.
Your shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint. The rotator cuff consists of four tendons and muscles that converge around it. The rotator cuff holds your arm in place while allowing it to move in different directions.
By combining the shoulder joint and the rotator cuff, you get the most mobile joint in your body with the widest range of motion. The downside is that this joint is very weak. If the joint experiences too much stress, it will tear and swelling starts to happen.
Let’s say that you have enough time to brace yourself for the impact of a car accident, with your arms straight out and your hands tightly gripping the steering wheel. Although this is your body’s natural reaction to an unexpected situation, you sustain more damage to your body in an accident when you are tense.
That is because all of the impact from the accident travels through your tensed arms and into your delicate shoulder joint. If any of the ligaments are torn, you then have a damaged or torn rotator cuff.
There are several symptoms to look if you think your rotator cuff may be torn. If you have pain in your shoulder or arm that makes it tough to sleep on your side, that will be the first sign that you might have a torn rotator cuff.
In addition, if your shoulder is weak, tender, or difficult to move above your head, your chance of having a torn rotator cuff increases. Cracking or snapping sounds can also be an indicator. If you have any of these symptoms, seeking medical attention for a complete evaluation is the first step toward recovery.
Diagnosis is especially important because a complete tear of a rotator cuff tendon won’t heal on its own. Even a partial tear can take exponentially longer to heal without proper treatment.
Since the rotator cuff is so complex, advanced diagnosis by X-ray and MRI are required to determine exactly which tendon or tendons are torn along with the extent of the tear(s).
AICA Ortho and Spine has state-of-the-art imaging technology that allows our medical doctors to find the exact cause of your shoulder problem.
Knowing the cause and precise location of your injury makes our treatment much more effective. Then, the doctors at AICA Ortho and Spine can prescribe just the right amount of physical therapy to aid in the healing process.
Diagnostics also helps us know what level of chiropractic treatment to recommend as part of your recovery plan.
AICA Ortho and Spine specializes in treatment and recovery of torn rotator cuffs resulting from car accidents.
With minor partial tears, physical therapy and rest can be beneficial as treatment. For complete tears of tendons, surgery may be required as well as aggressive physical therapy in recovery. AICA Ortho and Spine has physical therapists in house that will work with you pre and post-surgery. However, 99 percent of our patients never need surgery.
Our orthopedic specialists collaborate with physical therapists and chiropractors to give you the best treatment possible. Contact AICA Ortho and Spine today at 404-592-1186 and speak with one of our medical experts about how to heal your torn rotator cuff.