Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms
Rotator cuff tear symptoms are different for each individual. Although the range of rotator cuff pain and the area affected is well known, we are, quite simply, all different.
I know that sounds simple - it is supposed to. We are all individuals and I am not about to tell you what you are experiencing with your rotator cuff tear symptoms.
I will talk briefly about the importance of physical therapy for rotator cuff tears. How sensible physical therapy for rotator cuff tears can be used to reduce rotator cuff pain and minimise symptoms.
Tear symptoms can be separated into two major areas; there are others but here I want to concentrate on the two most frequent symptoms of rotator cuff tear. Firstly rotator cuff pain and the second of the rotator cuff symptoms is shoulder weakness.
The pictures below show the shoulder joint, the muscles of the rotator cuff and a partial tear of the rotator cuff.
The shoulder and rotator cuff muscles
< - - - Rotator cuff tear
Rotator cuff painThe first symptom is simply rotator cuff pain.
It is important to remember that some people suffer no rotator cuff pain at all their rotator cuff tear symptoms are said to be asymptomatic.
Studies have shown that many people who have suffered rotator cuff tears have never complained of any pain.
If you do have rotator cuff pain however, you are certainly not alone. Another thing to remember is that many people begin to experience pain and weakness in the shoulder even before a tear actually occurs.
Early onset of tear symptoms can be indicated by generalised aching of the shoulder and pain when raising the arm out from the body. At first, the pain may be mild and only present with overhead activities, such as reaching or lifting. Over time however the pain may become noticeable at rest or with no activity at all.
If the tendon is actually torn then the rotator cuff pain experienced can be quite severe especially in the case of a complete tear. The pain is generally felt in the front of the shoulder and can radiate down the side of the arm.
At first, the pain may be mild and only present with overhead activities, such as reaching or lifting. Over time however the pain may become noticeable at rest or with no activity at all.
When the rotator cuff is torn completely severe pain can occur and will remain constant, even at rest.
You will not be able to lift items and you may not be able to lift your arm from your side.
Rotator cuff pain is often experienced at night, especially if you sleep on the affected side.
I know I found this to be one of the most debilitating aspects of my own cuff tear symptoms. Not only was I in pain I was often tired also; not a good combination, especially for those closest to me!
WeaknessAnother of the major rotator cuff tear symptoms is a weakness of the shoulder. One of the symptoms of rotator cuff tear is an inability to raise the arm. That not only includes up over the head but in any direction depending upon which tendon ids actually torn.
Often this weakness is quite vague as the torn rotator cuff symptoms can be compensated for by other muscles. The deltoid muscle for example is utilised to lift the arm and can in some way make up for the loss of rotator cuff function. This is not ideal and correct treatment to remove rotator cuff tear symptoms should remain a priority.
In other cases however, especially full thickness tears, the rotator cuff tear symptoms can be extreme. Some people suffering major rotator cuff tears or detachments are left with very little residual arm movement.
The video clip below is a great example, I have no idea what is being said and it is not pretty but it shows how bad it can get!
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