By Dr Maddy Witt (Chiropractor)


Did you know that rotator cuff tears are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain?


Think about all the activities you’ve done today that have involve your shoulder. Maybe you brushed your teeth this morning. Some of you might have reached overhead to get to a shelf or tie your hair back. Even picking up a glass of water to have a drink.


Now imagine if all of those simple tasks caused you pain and some could not be completed at all. A rotator cuff tear is extremely debilitating and can have a huge impact on your life.


The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles that surround your shoulder joint. They are important for stability and movement of the shoulder. The shoulder is a highly mobile joint and is used in most daily activities, meaning, it can be prone to injury. Degeneration, overuse, sports injuries and poor strength of the rotator cuff can lead to tears. Incidence of tears increases with age.


Rotator cuff tears are notorious for being pesky and reoccurring. It is important to receive proper care in order to ensure full recovery and a proper rehabilitation process.


A tear can be partial or full-thickness. Usually symptoms include shoulder pain, weakness and limited range of motion.


In the initial stages of care, the goal is to reduce pain and inflammation. This is achieved by resting and applying ice or using anti-inflammatories. It is also important to maintain range of motion within the shoulder joint through gentle mobility exercises and stretching.


Next, the main focus is on strengthening the rotator cuff and the surrounding muscles of the back and shoulder blade. The aim is to improve shoulder stability and prevent re-injury. Strengthening these muscles and correcting scapula-thoracic biomechanics will ensure correct movement of your shoulder joint and shoulder blade. Resistance bands and hand weights are commonly used for shoulder strengthening exercises.


Prevention is key! Weather you have had a previous rotator cuff tear and are trying to prevent reoccurrence or you are concerned about your shoulder strength and stability. Simple strengthening exercises can improve stability and reduce the risk of injury.