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Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment in Toronto

Shoulder Pain & Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuff impingementShoulder pain can have many causes. Rotator cuff tendonitis, inflammation of rotator cuff tendon, is the most common cause of shoulder pain. The symptoms include dull achy pain of the top of the shoulder which gets worse with raising the arm above shoulder level, push, pull, reaching overhead or behind back.

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What are the common causes of shoulder pain?

Shoulder sprain/strains are common since the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. Because of its multidirectional and extensive range of motion, the shoulder joint is more susceptible to injury and pain. Shoulder pain can be caused by many different musculoskeletal conditions. There are a few medical conditions that can cause shoulder pain to manifest suddenly and hinder your ability to move your shoulder and perform everyday tasks.  Tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff impingement are common causes of musculoskeletal conditions. Chronic shoulder pain can be caused by muscle weakness, poor posture or decreased muscle tone after a stroke. In case you are experiencing sudden shoulder pain or chronic pain, you should seek the immediate assistance of a physiotherapist to find relief from the pain and discomfort and restore your ability to move your shoulder in a pain-free, effortless manner.

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What is rotator cuff injury?

The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles, combined with biceps these muscles drive shoulder mobility. Rotator Cuff injuries are a common cause of shoulder pain in people of all age groups, however, individuals who repeatedly perform overhead motions or perform heavy lifting over a prolonged period of time are more prone to the injury. This includes painters, carpenters, and baseball athletes. While performing certain physical therapy exercises that can help improve the flexibility and strength of the shoulder joint can help most patients recover from the injury very quickly, people with a history of repetitive injuries may require treatment.

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How is rotator cuff tear diagnosed? Do I need an MRI?

A clinical exam by a Physiotherapists or doctor includes obtaining medical history and mechanism of injury.  A physical exam which includes measuring a range of motion, mobility of adjacent joints such as neck joints, and muscle strength. In addition to the clinical exam, imaging or diagnostic ultrasound may be indicated to diagnose rotator cuff injuries.  Imaging scans, such as an X-ray, are used to identify any bone spurs. Bone spurs can rub against the rotator tendon and cause pain and inflammation and tear. An MRI or CT scan may be necessary if a patient does not progress well with treatment or shoulder instability develops.

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Can a torn rotator cuff heal on its own?

A minor rotator cuff injury or tendonitis can heal on its own. Most of the time, physiotherapy and exercise therapy to increase shoulder and postural muscle strength is required to help to promote healing.

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What is Frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, which is also referred to as adhesive capsulitis, is characterized by pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. The condition mostly affects individuals aged 40 to 65 years and is caused due to overuse or injury to the shoulder joint. The treatment of frozen shoulder involves physical therapy to restore motion and use of pain-killers and anti-inflammatory agents to relieve pain.

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What is shoulder bursitis?

An inflamed shoulder bursa is called shoulder bursitis. Bursa is a sac of fluid that decreases the friction of the tendons and muscles on joints. There are multiple bursas in shoulder area, the most important ones are called Deltoid bursa and Subacromial bursa. Subacromial bursitis is the most common shoulder bursitis which can cause severe shoulder pain and a limited range of motion. If left untreated, it can cause muscle weakness and chronic pain conditions.

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What causes shoulder instability or dislocation?

The wide range of motion of the shoulder joint makes it vulnerable to dislocation. A partial dislocation of the shoulder joint causes the head of the upper arm bone to slide out of the socket slightly. On the other hand, a complete dislocation means that the bone is completely out of the socket. The dislocation of shoulder bone results in pain, weakness, stiffness, and bruising. Visiting a physiotherapist in this condition is essential in order to prevent further damage to ligaments and tendons.

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How is shoulder pain or rotator cuff injury treated?

Physiotherapy plays a significant role in the management of Rotator Cuff injury. The exercises recommended by a physiotherapist are aimed at improving the strength and flexibility of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. In addition to physiotherapy, the following treatment options can help to relieve the pain and restore the mobility of the affected muscles.

  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Dry needling
  • Active Release Therapy (ART ) & Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
  • Interferential current (IFC) & TENS
  • Laser therapy, Ultrasound, and Shock Wave Therapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Chiropractic

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When to worry about shoulder pain?

Fortunately, most shoulder pain conditions improve with rest and simple exercises. Changes to work station ergonomics, and paying attention to proper posture are all effective. When the pain does not go away or when the pain occurs with every activity, then you need to see your physiotherapist or doctor. Proper treatment of shoulder pain can prevent tears and arthritis.

  • Ensure to visit your doctor if you experience:
    Pain at night
  • Pain that is not improving with therapy after 4 weeks
  • Pain radiating down the arm or up to the neck with numbness, tingling, and progressive weakness
  • Sudden left shoulder pain associated with chest pain and shortness of breath may indicate a heart-related condition

Who treats shoulder pain & Rotator cuff impingement?

Physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists commonly treat shoulder pain related to overuse or injuries. When conservative treatment is not enough, a referral to a sports medicine specialist, rheumatologist or physiatrist may be necessary. These medical practitioners can order a diagnostic investigation, prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, and administer injections to the tendons and joints. Almost always, physical therapy focuses on shoulder mechanics and muscle strengthening, and sports specific training to help a safe return to the activity is necessary.

At Physiomobility, we have a team of qualified professionals who offer specialized treatment for various musculoskeletal conditions including different shoulder pain & injury conditions. Our experienced orthopaedic & sports experienced physiotherapists will provide you with a personalized treatment, offering you relief from pain and discomfort and enabling you to get back to your usual activities quickly.

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