Rotator Cuff Misconceptions
These days, thanks to the internet, most people have heard of things that they would never have known about in the past. However, there are often common misconceptions about some of these discoveries. Many of you will have heard about your Rotator cuff, and this blog has been written to help educate you a little further on the subject, and to address some common misconceptions that people may have.
1. The Rotator Cuff Is One Muscle In The Shoulder – Wrong!
Many People believe the rotator cuff is one muscle. In fact it is the name given to a group of 4 muscles, and their associated tendons, in the shoulder. The muscles all arise from the scapula (shoulder blade) and attach to the head of the humerus (top of the arm), creating a cuff around the shoulder, hence the name.
It includes the following muscles:
The Supraspinatus Muscle
The Supraspinatus muscle arises from the supraspinous fossa of the scapula (top of the shoulder blade) and attaches to the outside of the top of the arm. Its primary function is abduction (lifting arm out to the side).
The Subscapularis Muscle
The subscapularis muscle arises from the subscapular fossa of the scapula (the part of the shoulder blade that sits against the ribcage) and attaches to the front of the top of the arm. Its primary function is to internally rotate the arm.
The infraspinatus Muscle
The infraspinatus muscle arises from the main body of the scapula and attaches to the outer part of the upper arm. Its primary function is to externally rotate the arm
The Teres Minor Muscle
The teres minor muscle arises from the outer edge of the scapula and attaches to the outer part of the front of the arm
2. A Rotator Cuff Tear Is Uncommon – Wrong!
Tears account for around 50% of major shoulder injuries, but can be difficult to diagnose. In this study, it was discovered that rotator cuff tears are actually found in 20% of the general population.
Rotator cuff tears can either be acute (sudden and traumatic) or degenerative. Acute tears can occur by falling on an outstretched hand, or by lifting something too heavy or lifting incorrectly.
Degenerative tears are caused slowly over time. As we age, the blood supply to the rotator cuff is reduced and there is also an increased risk of bone spurs which can rub against the rotator cuff muscles and wear them down. If you have a look at this study, you will see that the risk of having a rotator cuff tear significantly increases with age. In fact, 50% of the people in the study who were over 80 years old, had tears in their rotator cuff muscles.
3. A Tear Is Very Painful – Wrong!
A tear can be painful, but in fact, many people might have a tear and not even be aware of it. Have a look at this study. It showed that 16.9% of the study group had tears and yet had no symptoms.
4. A Rotator Cuff Tear Requires Surgery – Wrong!
As mentioned previously, there are many people who have tears in their rotator cuff muscles who continue to live a symptom-free life. This suggests that surgery is not always necessary, especially where the tears are degenerative.
So before rushing off and having surgery, see if we can help you at our Chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne.
Want to find out more about Shoulder pain and the rotator cuff?
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to find out more about shoulder pain, then please check out one of our other blogs on the shoulder joint below.
Hopefully, this gives you a little more of an understanding of your rotator cuff and the common misconceptions that are held. If you are having any problems with your shoulder and need an assessment to find out what is going on with it, please call us at our Chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne. Contact details can be found here.
By James Revell
Call now 01323 722499