Around the shoulder, there is a group of muscles and tendons that help keep the head of your upper arm bone in place. When there is an injury to one or more of those tissues, you may have an ache in your shoulder that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Additionally, you may have trouble using your shoulder without significant pain.
Rotator cuff injuries are relatively common, especially as people age, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. If you suffer an injury at work, then you may be able to seek workers’ compensation and the physical therapy, medical care and other supports you need.
How do rotator cuff injuries happen?
Sometimes, they’re the result of a single incident, such as a fall or sudden overextension in the shoulder region. Other times, the tendons become weaker over time, eventually leading to dysfunction. Rotator cuff injuries may be treatable, depending on whether the ligaments and tendons have been stretched or torn and the severity of the damage.
How do you know if you have a rotator cuff injury?
The only way to be sure is to get an X-ray, CT scan or MRI, but you may also notice symptoms such as:
- Arm weakness
- Trouble combing your hair
- Difficulty reaching behind your back
- A dull ache that feels deep within the shoulder
What happens if you don’t get treatment for a rotator cuff injury?
If you don’t get treatment for a rotator cuff injury, then there could potentially be complications that make the injury worse. Rotator cuff problems can lead to the permanent loss of strength or motion in your affected arm. It can also lead to the shoulder joint degenerating.
If you rest your shoulder for too long, another potential complication could be frozen shoulder. This happens when the connective tissues that enclose the joint thicken and get too tight. With frozen shoulder, you may lose your range of motion and need physical therapy to regain it.
If you feel a sudden pain in your shoulder or lose strength suddenly, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as you can. Continued dull aches and pains should be a concern, too. Let your employer know that you’re struggling with shoulder issues, so that they can help you start the workers’ compensation claims process and begin working toward getting you the care and compensation you need as you recover.