Discussions By Condition: Muscle conditions

Torn Rotator Cuff or Not?

Posted In: Muscle conditions 2 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • September 12, 2006
  • 02:36 PM

:confused: I recently had an MRI in which the results stated that I had a torn rotator cuff. I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon. It was almost 2 months since the MRI until I was able to see the OS. About 2 weeks prior, my neck started getting stiff and was very painful. The OS said that he didn't think it was a tear, but severe inflamation in the shoulder and he thought it was cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve in my neck). I injured my right shoulder almost a year prior to the MRI. Symptoms came and went during that time, then finally did not go away and worstened, hence the MRI. The OS shot cortizone in my shoulder and said that if the pain went away, he would know it was the shoulder, if not he said it was my neck. In a day or two the pain in my shoulder was completely gone, but the neck continues to feel like it is pulling no matter which direction I turn or bend (neck pain is on the same side). Now 2 weeks later, my shoulder is starting to hurt again, and the muscles feel very sore and weak. I don't see the OS until Oct. 4.
Anyone else had these problems.

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2 Replies:

  • there is no way to know for sure that long after the original injury unless it was a full tear. The rotator cuff is actually 4 muscles..the most likely to be the culprit is the supraspinatus which is prone to wear and tear injuries because of it's constant abrasion against the acromion process. In some people the acromion is curved in a downward angle that exaserbates this even more. All injuries to the rotator cuff muscles are to some degree a "tear"...even a sprain or strain is caused by microtears in the tissue. A new injury can cause muscles to clamp down to protect the area...our own inhibitions in moving an injured shoulder can also cause other muscles to become involved and sore.An old injury, whether treated or untreated, may develop scar tissue (adhesions) and cause derivitive symptoms and involve other tissues. At this point, it is really mute as to weather it was a rotator cuff tear. If you can lift you shoulder,even if painfull...the tendons are attached..they have healed themselves...although, it is very likely there are adhesions. With any shoulder injury, the neck muscles are likely to become involved. Often, the scalenes are a few of those muscles involved. The anterior and medial scalene attach to the first rib and clavicle. The brachial plexus passes between these two muscles. When the muscles become tight...they can impinge the brachial nerve, which can cause numbness, tingling and weakness in the effected arm. You probably need PT, strength training and neuromuscular massage to release the effected area and diminish adheasions. Surgery is always a last option...especially when it comes to the shoulder area, because of the liklyhood that more adhesions will develope and cause even more problems of there own.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 7, 2006
    • 05:19 AM
    • 0
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  • If the MRI result was a torn rotator cuff, then that is what it is. Shoulder pain can lead to neck pain and vice versa. Your neck should be checked out, but the pain is probably related to your shoulder. I speak from experience with a torn rotator cuff and chronic pain in neck and shoulder. I had the rotator cuff repaired. The surgery and rehab was total ***l with pain, but I was faithful with the rehab and now the shoulder is 95% pain free and neck is much better. I would have the surgery again to get rid of the constant pain in my shoulder. I also did try, shots & PT for 1 year prior to surgery to no avail. I am a healthcare professional.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 9, 2006
    • 09:12 PM
    • 0
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