How a Chiropractor Can Help with a Rotator Cuff Injury

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If you have ever suffered from a rotator cuff injury, you understand just how much something like this can impact your daily life. Pain, stiffness, and inflammation in your shoulder caused by a rotator cuff injury can make everyday tasks frustrating or even unbearable. Thankfully, you can choose chiropractic care for a rotator cuff injury to help you heal and recover. Chiropractic care offers an all-natural approach to addressing injuries without medication or surgery. Instead, your chiropractor will focus on how the injury has impacted you and utilize hands-on techniques to help you. Here’s what you need to know about a rotator cuff injury and how a chiropractor can help.

What Is a Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff refers to a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint and support its wide range of motion. Every time you lift, raise, or rotate your arm, the rotator cuff is engaged. The shoulder joint has the most rotation and range of motion in the body, and the rotator cuff offers support from muscles and tendons that allow for all that movement. The four muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff also help the arm bone stay in the shoulder socket. The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, and the top of the arm bone should fit firmly in the socket of the shoulder. However, with such a wide range of motion, damage to one or more of the tissues that make up the rotator cuff can lead to overstretched or torn muscles or ligaments or even a dislocated shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Injury Symptoms

Rotator Cuff Injury Symptoms

While the shoulder joint is the most flexible joint in the body, that also makes it more susceptible to issues or injuries. You might be experiencing a rotator cuff injury if you experience pain in and around your shoulder, especially with certain movements. A rotator cuff injury will typically restrict movement or motion. Raising your arm or rotating your shoulder could start to become uncomfortable, painful, or even feel impossible. A rotator cuff injury can lead to a dull ache in your shoulder that extends into your arm, as well. You may also experience weakness in the affected arm and notice discomfort that keeps you up at night.

Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries

There are several types of rotator cuff injuries depending on what tissues and structures of the rotator cuff and shoulder joint are impacted. Here are a few examples of the types of rotator cuff injuries that could cause the symptoms explained above:

General Wear & Tear

A rotator cuff injury can develop over time from general wear and tear on the body. As we age, our joints lose some mobility and flexibility. The tissues that support joints like the shoulder can become stiff and less elastic with age. Repetitive movements from certain activities can also increase the chances of general wear and tear on the shoulder joint and rotator cuff.


Inflammation can develop in and around the rotator cuff and shoulder joint in response to an injury or overuse. If the tissues of the rotator cuff become inflamed, the swelling can reduce movements and increase pain in the area. Damage to the rotator cuff or nearby bones or tissues can also lead to pain and inflammation.

Tissue Strain

Muscles and tendons can become overstretched or strained with certain movements or activities. A tissue strain is an example of a rotator cuff injury when one or more of the tissues that make up the rotator cuff become overstretched or loosened to the point where they cannot function properly. A strain to one or more of these tissues can also make the rotator cuff more susceptible to other shoulder injuries.

Torn Rotator Cuff

A torn rotator cuff refers to a partial or complete tear of one or more of the muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff. With a partial tear, the muscle or tendon may have overstretched and become damaged or frayed. A complete tear refers to when the tendon completely separates from the bone.

Causes of a Rotator Cuff Injury

Causes of a Rotator Cuff Injury

A rotator cuff injury can occur for several reasons:

Repetitive Movements

One of the most common causes of a rotator cuff injury is repetitive movements. A rotator cuff injury is common among athletes, especially in sports like tennis or baseball, where the players engage the shoulder in the same movements repeatedly. For example, a pitcher throwing the ball over and over again can put a lot of pressure and stress on the rotator cuff and shoulder.

Sudden Fall

A sudden fall could also lead to a rotator cuff injury. If you fall and reach your hands out to catch yourself, this can send a jolt of pressure through your arms and into your shoulders. The sudden stress on your shoulders can cause damage to the rotator cuff, resulting in inflammation, strain, or even a complete rotator cuff tear.

Shoulder Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis refers to inflammation of the shoulder joint. There are many types of arthritis that can impact the shoulder and other joints, though the most common type is osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis can develop over time with general wear and tear, making the joint more susceptible to injury.

Shoulder Tendonitis

Shoulder tendonitis is a type of inflammation that can affect the rotator cuff and biceps tendon. This causes the tissues in the area to swell, including the muscles and tendons that connect to bones in your shoulder and arm.

Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursa in the shoulder, which are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushion and shock absorption. The bursa in your shoulder help fill the space between the bones and the rotator cuff, and if it becomes inflamed, it can lead to a rotator cuff injury.

How Chiropractic Care Helps with a Torn Rotator Cuff

Chiropractic care for a torn rotator cuff takes an all-natural approach to promote your body’s natural healing processes. Chiropractors use hands-on techniques to ensure the bones, muscles, and tendons of the rotator cuff and shoulder are properly aligned so that healing can begin. Here are a few examples of how chiropractic care helps with a torn rotator cuff:

Resolve Symptoms

Chiropractors work to resolve your symptoms as swiftly and safely as possible so you can get back to your regular routines and activities. Chiropractic techniques can help soothe stiff muscles and help them relax.

Pain Management

Chiropractic care for a rotator cuff injury will also focus on providing you with effective, all-natural options for pain management. Instead of dealing with medications that come with uncomfortable side effects, chiropractors help support your body’s natural solutions for addressing pain and discomfort after an injury.

Joint Mobility

Your chiropractor will also work with you to restore healthy mobility and range of motion to your affected shoulder. After a rotator cuff injury, you might feel stiff and inflexible. Stretches, exercises, and soft tissue mobilization can help improve joint mobility in the affected shoulder.


When you visit a chiropractor for a rotator cuff injury, they will work with you every step of the way through treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation. Chiropractors utilize an individualized approach to each person to make sure they address your specific needs for a successful recovery.

Start Professional Chiropractic Treatment for an Immediate Rotator Cuff Recovery

Visit Pro-Care Medical Centers in San Antonio and Austin for a chiropractor near you. Our team of chiropractors, primary care doctors, and specialists can provide you with quality, comprehensive support and care as you recover from a rotator cuff injury.

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