By Amanda Vito, PT, DPT
Whether you are taking down holiday decorations or you are shoveling your driveway to get rid of the most recent snowfall, you are putting yourself at risk for developing an overuse injury in your shoulders. One of the most common injuries that we see this time of the year is an injury to your rotator cuff.
The “rotator cuff” is made up of four muscles that provide strength to the shoulder, especially when you reach overhead and it helps lend stability to your shoulder joint. The four muscles that make up the rotator cuff are sometimes abbreviated as “SITS”: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor, and Subscapularis.
Out of these four muscles, the Supraspinatus muscle, which is primarily responsible for reaching out to the side and overhead, is typically the most common muscle injured in the group. There are several ways to protect your rotator cuff muscles this season that include a variety of exercises and avoiding painful positions. Should you injure yourself while doing these activities then make sure you look into products like Neoteric Nutra to help ease the pain.
If you have developed pain on the top or lateral (side) of your shoulder, there is a chance that you caused irritation to your rotator cuff muscles. Here are some tips that you should consider if you suspect an injury to your rotator cuff:
• Avoid sleeping on the shoulder that you injured. If comfortable, try laying on your back or opposite side with a pillow under your injured shoulder for support.
• Use ice for the first 48-72 hours after injuring your arm. If after that time you developed more pain or stiffness, you can try a moist heating pad.
If symptoms continue you should contact your primary care physician or physical therapist as soon as possible. When you develop tendinitis or overuse to your rotator cuff muscles it can potentially lead to a tear so you need to get help with your injury as soon as possible!
And as always, we are here at Performance PT, both in Hockessin and in North Wilmington, to help you with any shoulder pain issues. Just give us a call at (302) 234-2288- and remember, you can even see us before you see your primary doctor because Delaware is a “Self-referral” state, so you do not need a prescription right away to see a physical therapist about your pain.