How to Manage Work-Related Rotator Cuff Injuries
Dealing with a work-related rotator cuff injury can be a real pain in the...well, shoulder. Whether it is a minor or a more severe tear, rotator cuff injuries can cause serious inconveniences in your daily life and sometimes make simple tasks feel overwhelming.
In this article, we are going to give you the lowdown on how to manage work-related rotator cuff injuries like a pro to prevent further damage and promote recovery.
What is the Rotator Cuff?
The rotator cuff - a powerhouse team of muscles and tendons - takes centre stage around your shoulder joint, ensuring stability and allowing you to perform a range of arm movements. Those moments of heavy lifting or repetitive motions can sneakily become the antagonists of your shoulder’s wellbeing, so it is crucial to recognise the signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury early on.
Symptoms of Work-Related Rotator Cuff Injuries
Limited range of movement
Once-fluid shoulder movements often become restricted when rotator cuff injuries strike, and simple actions like reaching overhead or behind your back can cause pain and overall inconvenience.
Popping or clicking sounds with movement
Shoulder or arm movements accompanied by popping or clicking sounds should make alarm bells ring. In the case of a rotator cuff injury, these sounds often occur because of the abnormal movements of injured muscles or tendons. These noises should tell you that there is something not right in your shoulder joint!
Tenderness or weakness
A tell-tale sign of a rotator cuff injury is tenderness or weakness around the shoulder area. You may feel pain when applying pressure to the affected area or performing specific movements. Weakness in the shoulder can make it difficult to perform daily tasks, such as reaching for a utensil in a high cupboard or lifting a box.
Numbness and tingling
Sometimes, rotator cuff injuries can cause numbness or pins and needles in the affected arm or hand. This happens because the injury may be compressing nearby nerves. If this happens, it is essential to seek health professional advice to determine the underlying cause.
Remember - no two rotator cuff injuries are exactly the same. So, suppose you are experiencing any of these symptoms we have just talked about. In that case, it is essential to reach out to a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and a personalised plan to help get you on the road to recovery.
How to Fix a Rotator Cuff Injury
Rest, medications, and therapy essentially form a saving grace for work-related rotator cuff injuries.
Giving your shoulder a well-earned rest is the best prescription. Avoiding activities that could worsen the pain and giving your shoulder a proper chance to rest and recover can kick-start the healing process.
Over-the-counter pain relief can help ease pain, while nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation.
Hand therapy can work wonders for your rotator cuff, like a superhero in the realm of rehab! Therapists will walk you through specific exercises to gradually strengthen and restore the range of motion in your shoulder.
Conservative treatments just are occasionally not enough for some rotator cuff injuries. That is where precise surgical interventions come in.
A minimally invasive procedure called an arthroscopic repair uses small incisions to mend torn tendons. Using a tiny camera ensures heightened precision and speeds up recovery time.
Open repair surgery requires a more extensive incision for complicated rotator cuff injuries. It’s a more hands-on approach that involves a larger incision to allow direct access to damaged tendons.
Not all rotator cuff injuries call for surgical interventions, as every case is unique, and your health provider will determine the most suitable option for you.
Preventative Measures and Long-Term Care
When it comes to work-related rotator cuff injuries, prevention and long-term care play vital roles in maintaining shoulder health.
Make your work work for you! Be sure to tell your employer about your work-related rotator cuff injury so that they can help to ensure your workspace is shoulder-friendly. This may include investing in a standing desk or posture-correction device to eliminate discomfort and prevent the worsening of a rotator cuff injury.
Strengthening exercises can gradually stabilise your shoulder muscles and improve your posture. A hand therapist can help you incorporate targeted exercises into your routine to keep these muscles in tip-top shape.
Managing work-related rotator cuff injuries is a journey that requires both determination and patience. By understanding the nature of these injuries, recognising the symptoms, and following the needed treatment strategies, you can pave your way to recovery and get back to work!
As a team of experienced occupational therapists and physiotherapists, Apricus Health has the skill, knowledge, and compassion to manage work-related cuff rotator injuries. We’ve got your back (or rather your shoulders) covered! If you’d like to learn more about how our team can help you, contact us at (07) 4755 2337 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.