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The Facts About Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator Cuff Tears can happen from a multitude of activities, and they can be painful in nature. They can either be partial or complete, and both require immediate attention. If you feel as though you have experienced a Rotator Cuff Tear, please visit a doctor today.


A minor stress can easily cause a partial or complete tear to a tissue already weakened by degenerative changes.  Nearly all rotator cuff tears occur in the front portion of the rotator cuff at the tendo-periosteal junction AKA “Critical Zone”.  A rotator cuff tear can be partial or complete.

A rotator cuff tear most often occurs in men between the ages of 40-50 that are engaged in hard manual overhead work.  A rotator cuff tear may also occur after a minor injury or after “breaking” a fall.  Most cases of rotator cuff tears present with no history of trauma or unusual stress.  The typical history for a rotator cuff tear is, the patient felt acute severe pain described as a “tearing” sensation which is followed by a 6-12 hour pain free interval with a gradual return of the pain with increasing severity over the next 4 -7 days.

An incomplete rotator cuff tear will resemble the signs and symptoms of supraspinatus tendonitis as the torn fibers will retract and bunch together.   Abduction (lifting your arm at your side) will be possible but it will be painful and limited with an incomplete rotator cuff tear.  But with a complete rotator cuff tear there is an inability to abduct.  Finally, the most common tendon involved with a rotator cuff tear is the supraspinatus tendon.

Your Chiropractor will perform a thorough history and examination including orthopaedic, neurological testing and diagnostic radiography to determine the true cause of your shoulder pain.  Then they will develop a specific plan of management tailored to your case.

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