Rotator Cuff Tear
A rotator cuff tear occurs when one or more of the tendons in the rotator cuff are damaged. This usually happens because of repetitive use, which causes the tendon to become weak and break over time. Additionally, traumatic injury to the shoulder can also cause a tear. And when this happens, it's usually due to a fall onto an outstretched hand. Most people experience shoulder pain after they've injured their rotator cuff. This pain can be very severe and increase over several days. To make matters worse, the pain also tends to move around, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact source of discomfort.
What are the Signs of A Rotator Cuff Tear?
If you experience shoulder pain that gets worse with any movements, like putting on a shirt or lifting something, it probably means that your rotator cuff is torn. Your doctor will be able to tell you for sure. But here are some common symptoms of a tear:
1. Acute Shoulder PainWhen you have a rotator cuff tear, the pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. And the degree of discomfort varies from person to person. Some people feel aching in the shoulder and an uncontrollable urge to move it around to alleviate the pain. Others feel stiffness and soreness that can make it difficult to lift a cup of coffee or bend over to pick up a child.
2. Inability to Lift Your Arm Above Your HeadRaising your arm over your head is one of the most common movements that worsens shoulder pain caused by a rotator cuff tear. It's important to note that this pain will only get worse if you've injured your shoulder within the past few weeks.
3. Restrictive Movement in Your ShoulderPeople who have torn their rotator cuff will also notice that they are unable to raise their arm above their head, or move it in a full range of motion. This is because the damaged tendons have weakened significantly, which means that they no longer put the same amount of stress on your upper muscle. As a result, you'll need to move your arm through a much smaller arc before the pain becomes too intense, which means that you won't be able to function very well.
4. Painful Swelling and Shoulder Support Brace Relieve PainSince rotator cuff tears usually cause swelling in the shoulder, you may notice that your arm is becoming more and more painful over time. This swelling is likely caused by a build-up of fluids in the area around your rotator cuff, which is a normal reaction to injury. Swelling after an injury will go down on its own once the tears have healed. But if the pain and swelling continue for several weeks or months, it may mean that you've torn your rotator cuff. And wearing a shoulder support brace can relieve pain.
A frozen shoulder is a condition in which one or more of the tendons in the shoulder become inflamed and stiff. When this happens, it makes it extremely difficult to move your arm because of severe pain. The symptoms of a frozen shoulder can start slowly but will get progressively worse over time if left untreated. Here are some common symptoms of a frozen shoulder:
1. Tenderness and Stiffness in the ShoulderThe sensation is similar to that of a crick in your neck, but it's more severe and will worsen over time. As the pain gets worse, it may also extend down one or both of your arms. Along with this stiffness, you will also notice some tightness in your shoulder that makes certain movements uncomfortable, like raising your arm over your head or reaching behind you.
2. Diminished Range of MotionYour shoulder will continue to feel stiff, even when you try to move it in a full range of motion. This causes the pain to become worse and makes it hard to function normally.
3. Moderate Swelling in the ShoulderJust like a rotator cuff tear, a frozen shoulder can cause some swelling around your shoulder joint. When this happens, you may notice that your arm feels different, like it's heavier than normal or more difficult to control.
4. Inability to Participate in Physical ActivitiesOne of the most frustrating symptoms of a frozen shoulder is that it will become very difficult to perform even the simplest movements with your arm. For example, it's unlikely that you'll be able to reach behind your back without feeling some kind of pain or discomfort. This makes everyday tasks like driving and self-grooming almost impossible, which means that you won't be able to live a normal life for several months if left untreated.
5. Muscle SpasmsFor someone with a frozen shoulder, the pain may feel so severe that you'll start to experience muscle spasms. These involuntary movements will become more and more common as the condition progresses. It's important to note that you can't control these spasms. The only way to stop them is to relax your muscles. But this is easier said than done because of the amount of pain involved with having a frozen shoulder.
Rotator Cuff Tear vs. Frozen Shoulder
The main difference between a rotator cuff tear and a frozen shoulder is the type of pain you experience. When you injure your rotator cuff, the affected tendons are damaged, which causes inflammation and swelling in the area. But with a frozen shoulder, the muscles in your shoulder become inflamed because of overuse or another injury to your soft tissue. If left untreated, this condition can damage your tendons and cause permanent damage to your arm. A shoulder support brace may help.