What are the Rotator Cuffs and how to Treat them without Surgery?
Rotator cuff muscles are vital when it comes to stabilizing the shoulder joint. The glenohumeral joint, or in layman’s term, the shoulder joint, is a multi-axial ball-and-socket joint. The “ball” portion of the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) is the rounded head of the arm bone, called the Humerus. The “socket” portion is the dish-like part of the scapula (shoulder blade) forming the glenoid cavity or fossa. Do keep in mind that the ball-and-socket component of the shoulder joint is not as deep-seated as the ball-and-socket joint of the hip. In fact, as mentioned earlier, the cavity portion is more like a dish rather than a socket. Therefore, for the sake of simplicity, it might be better to describe the joint as a “dish-and-ball.”
It is this dish-and-ball-like joint that allows us to move our arms freely in almost all directions. However, with great flexibility and due to a disproportion in the size of the “ball” to the “socket,” the shoulder joint is said so be the unstable joint of the human body. The rotator cuff muscles comprise four distinct muscles, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and the subscapularis, which are responsible for various arm movements. The tendons of these muscles coalesce to form the rotator cuff at the glenohumeral joint, which is essential for the stability of our shoulder joint.
SUPRASPINATUS MUSCLE OF THE ROTATOR CUFF
The supraspinatus muscle plays the role of the initiator for the abduction of the arm alongside the deltoid muscle. They both contain the same abduction power. The muscle originates from the Supraspinous fossa and inserts into the superior facet of the greater tuberosity of the Humerus.
INFRASPINATUS MUSCLE OF THE ROTATOR CUFF
This muscle lies inferior to the supraspinatus muscle as it originates from the infraspinatus fossa and inserts into the medial facet of the humeral greater tuberosity. The function of this muscle is to facilitate the external rotation of the shoulder.
TERES MINOR MUSCLE OF THE ROTATOR CUFF
Originating from along the lateral border of the scapula and inserting at the inferior facet of the greater tuberosity, the teres minor muscle also aids with external rotation.
SUBSCAPULARIS MUSCLE OF THE ROTATOR CUFF
The largest and the most influential of the rotator cuff muscles is the subscapularis muscle, which enables internal rotation of the shoulder. About 53% of the cuff strength belongs to this muscle. It originates from the subscapular fossa and inserts into the lesser tuberosity of the humeral head.
Due to the intricacies of these muscles and their role, they are very susceptible to injury. Among the more common forms of injury would be rotator cuff tears and rotator cuff tendinopathy. Rotator cuff injuries of the shoulder joint are common among all but more prevalent in those active in sports. Traumatic injuries of the shoulder involving the rotator cuffs are most common among racket sports, such as tennis or badminton, players. Gym-goers may also be susceptible, especially if they don’t warm up or push themselves too hard.
The second group of patients predisposed to rotator cuff tears is the middle-aged and the elderly. Non-athletic tears in middle-aged persons or elderly patients are often linked to degenerative changes that have occurred over the years. Many times, patients ignore smaller shoulder discomfort or malfunction. Minor shoulder disorders are related to degenerative changes in the rotator cuffs. These degenerative changes are progressive in nature and often lead to tears when activity increases. Therefore, it is our advice to fix even the smallest of shoulder pain, disorders, discomfort, or injury before you succumb to greater issues or larger tears of the rotator cuffs.
Best Treatment for a Rotator Cuff Tear
Of course, the best treatment for any spine, joint or sports injury is by non-operative means. Surgery involves cutting, and as such will always lead to a degree of soft tissue damage. On the other hand, effective non-operative means that are holistic will have longer-lasting benefits without the surgical complications. At Chiropractic Specialty Center, we use a host of therapeutic methods and devices including specialized methods of trigger point therapy to help restore proper function following an injury. Regardless of the type of shoulder injury, our clinical teams have the expertise and experience to treat your shoulder without drugs, injection or surgery.
Steroid Injections for a Rotator Cuff Tear
Many surgical centers recommend steroid injections into the shoulder joint. A steroid injection may decrease pain for a few days or weeks, but it will never repair the damage. What is worse is that the steroid injected into the shoulder joint can cause degenerative changes in your shoulder, leading to premature wear and tear. Often, people who have had a shoulder injection end up having a surgical intervention. So why would you opt for a therapeutic approach that ends with a surgical cut? The best way to avoid shoulder surgery is by avoiding the steroid injections.
Should You Opt for Rotator Cuff Surgery?
Contrary to the common belief, rotator cuff surgeries are not that successful. The dirty little secret of rotator cuff surgery is that tear occurs following surgery. The subsequent tears are often larger and more dramatic. Although shoulder surgeries have become a common procedure in many surgical settings, the rate of success has not improved. A published research titled “Rotator Cuff Repair,” released in Vol 43, Issue 2, 2015, of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, related that tears often occur in about a two-year period following the surgical intervention.
Therefore, we would encourage all our patients with a shoulder injury to seek non-surgical interventions as primary means. Surgery should be avoided as the relapse or even chance of getting bigger tears is relatively high. Re-tears occur mainly due to the surgical intervention, which leads to fatty deposits along muscle fibers. These fat deposits are the leading cause of reinjury. If you have a rotator cuff tear or injury, visit one of our centers. Let our clinical teams of physiotherapists and chiropractors treat your rotator cuff holistically through the best non-operative methods.
The BEST Non-Surgical Rotator Cuff Treatment
The best non-surgical treatment option for a rotator cuff injury is a collaborative system of care that incorporates the best Chiropractic shoulder treatment in Malaysia, focused shoulder Physiotherapy, and specialized Rehabilitation. Researchers throughout the world have commended the non-operative methods of care before opting for an invasive procedure. In our centers, we utilize research-based clinical chiropractic treatments for rotator cuff injury that are backed with specialized physiotherapy. And as such, we have achieved greater level of clinical success for our shoulder patients when compared to the non-surgical treatment you can get from the hospital, sports centers, physiotherapists or other chiropractors.