The shoulder is a remarkable part of the human body. As one of the only parts of the body that can fully rotate 360°, injuries are common in athletes and blue-collar workers, particularly those who lift above their heads on a regular basis.
More specifically, a rotator cuff injury happens when the muscles and/or tendons in the shoulder tear or become inflamed. Inflammation is known as a Grade I injury; partial tearing is known as a Grade II injury; and complete tearing a Grade III injury.
Rotator cuff injuries usually happen in one of two ways.
The first way, is known as an acute injury. Acute means that the injury happens suddenly. A skier, for instance, falling on the slopes and landing on a shoulder, or a wrestler who lands on his or her shoulder during a match can suffer an acute injury. While uncommon, anyone can succumb to this type of injury by simply falling. Athletes who are involved in contact sports or any sport that involves some degree of inherent danger can succumb to an acute injury.
The second type of rotator cuff injury is known as a chronic injury. Chronic injuries happen gradually over the course of time. Athletes such as baseball and softball pitchers, tennis players and those who perform routine, repetitive arm movements will likely have rotator cuff problems at some point in their career. Laborers, particularly those who lift heavy objects above chest level, are also likely to suffer chronic rotator cuff injuries in the course of their career.
Finally, age is also a factor in rotator cuff injury. The human body, while a remarkable machine, will eventually wear and muscles atrophy. Tendons, when torn or damaged, may take longer to heal as the body ages, and this can result in additional damage or injury to the rotator cuff.
If you are suffering from shoulder pain or are curious to learn more about rotator cuff injury, take a look at our comprehensive rotator cuff article for additional information. There are tips about preventing and treating shoulder pain as well as ways to speed healing and reduce further injury.
Also, keep an eye-out for my next installment on symptoms of rotator cuff injury due out next month.
Until next time, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.
The Stretch Coach