Shoulder / Arm

Shoulder Pain in Rotator Cuff Lesions

What is rotator cuff syndrome?

The rotator cuff is part of the shoulder. A sort of capsule that looks like a cuff surrounds the shoulder. The rotator muscles of the shoulder joint are attached to it. Rotator cuff syndrome of the shoulder covers a lot of conditions including irritations of the tendons and tears in the rotator cuff of the shoulder.

Cause

What causes a rotator cuff syndrome to arise is unclear. A reduction of blood supply to the tendons of the rotator cuff caused by the ageing process together with repetitive injuries is assumed to be the causes. Another cause of this syndrome may be a narrowing of the space above the shoulder joint.

Signs and symptoms

The pattern of symptoms is characterized by pain in the shoulder that gets worse on repeated movement. Also pain at night and not being able to sleep on the affected side are often indications of inflammation. The pattern of symptoms depends greatly on what exactly the cause is. A narrowed space above the shoulder joint will be associated with pain when the arm is lifted. If the rotator cuff is torn, then as well as being painful, the muscles of the shoulder will become weaker and thinner.

How is rotator cuff syndrome diagnosed?

The diagnosis is made on the patient's pattern of symptoms. When carrying out physical examination for shoulder problems, there are three useful shoulder tests: raising the arm out to the side, holding the arm along the body and turning it outwards, and bringing the arm over to the unaffected shoulder horizontally.  In addition a neurological examination has to be done to exclude a disc prolaps of the neck.

Do I need additional examinations?

  • Diagnostic examination for other non-physical factors important for your pain, have already been done by yourself trough filling out your pain questionnaires.
  • Blood tests on suspicion of systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Prolonged persistent shoulder pain: X-rays, ultrasound and MRI scan.

What are my treatment possibilities?

Multidisciplinary treatment

Depending on the cause of your pain, your pain specialist will decide whether or not to start physical treatment. Based on the results of the completed pain questionnaire, additional examinations can be carried out, and apart from physical treatment other methods of treatment will be suggested.

Non-physical treatment

If the results of your pain questionnaire are abnormal, your pain specialist will offer you one of the non-physical treatments listed below:

What are my treatment possibilities?

Multidisciplinary treatment

Depending on the cause of your pain, your pain specialist will decide whether or not to start physical treatment. Based on the results of the completed pain questionnaire, additional examinations can be carried out, and apart from physical treatment other methods of treatment will be suggested.

Non-physical treatment

If the results of your pain questionnaire are abnormal, your pain specialist will offer you one of the non-physical treatments listed below:

Physical treatment

Medication

Other Treatment

Interventional pain treatment