Common Workplace Injury: Rotator Cuff Injuries

The term ‘rotator cuff’ refers to a group of muscles that attach to the upper arm bone from the shoulder blade, and they have the important function of assisting with rotation movements and elevation movements while also providing stability to the shoulder joint. If you experience a muscle tear, not only can it be very painful, but also it can have an impact on your normal functionality, which can be extremely frustrating. This is one of the most common injuries that happen in the workplace. 

Rotator cuff tears can occur when high force, repetitive or excessive tension is placed on the rotator cuff tendons and muscles during contraction of the muscles. There are several different causes of rotator cuff tears, with the most common being awkward lifting or heavy lifting, as the muscle and tendon experiences a force that is beyond what they can usually withstand. Other causes include a heavy pulling or pushing as well as falling in an awkward position while rotator cuff tears can also be a form of repetitive strain injury too. In the workplace, a DSE workstation risk assessment is necessary to make certain that there is not a risk of such injuries. 

How can you tell if you have a tear? You may actually experience the tearing sensation, and this will leave you in no doubt of what has happened. Yet other symptoms include sudden pain, referred pain to the neck, upper back or upper arm, difficulty when elevating the affected arm and weakness. If this sounds familiar, you should book an appointment with a specialist physiotherapist as soon as possible. Also, if the issue is to do with your workplace, you need to make sure you report it as soon as you can. 

When you visit a practice, one of their friendly and experienced therapists will carry out a full assessment of your condition, which may include an MRI scan or an ultrasound. If they conclude that you have a serious condition, they may advise you to see a doctor for surgical intervention, yet most instances can be solved with physiotherapy. 

Specialists use a wide range of techniques to treat rotator cuff tears, including progressive exercises, ice or heat treatment, the use of a sling, joint mobilization and soft tissue massage. They don’t simply provide you with your treatment and then leave you to it; they will give you all of the advice and education you need to manage the condition at home so you can facilitate a fast recovery. 

If you have any further questions about this condition, or you believe you are suffering as the result of a rotator cuff tear, you should get in touch with a physiotherapist as soon as you can. You do not want to run the risk of it getting worse.

This is a contributed post