When you experience one or more tears in any of the four rotator cuff tendons in either arm, the symptoms can adversely affect your entire life. Beyond severe pain and mobility problems, you might become so uncomfortable that you have difficulty eating and sleeping. Nearby areas of the body like the neck, face and lower back might also feel painful or destabilize.
The following outlines the primary causes of tears of the rotator cuff:
Muscle Weakness and Disease
A sedentary lifestyle or immobility caused by another injury or health problem can result in muscles weakening and wasting to the point that rotator cuff tendons stop being flexible enough to handle even normal wear and tear. As people age, they also experience blood flow reduction and cellular damage that speeds up the tissue degeneration process. Certain health conditions like diabetes, thoracic outlet syndrome and a genetic predisposition for tissue degeneration put some people at higher risk for rotator cuff tears. Lastly, bones spurs that impinge the area can cause tears.
Sudden Hard Strain or Injury
Tears can occur with any activity that causes a sudden strain on the area. For example, you might experience a tear if you fall in a way that wrenches the shoulder and arm or you attempt to lift up a child that is pulling heavily at your arm. Lifting heavy objects can cause sudden tears, especially if you have tissue weakness or degeneration. For example, you might tear your rotator cuff doing household chores like lifting a heavy storage tote, large case of bottled water or bag of dog food or potting soil.
Exercising the Arm Too Much or Long
Overusing strained muscles can cause a sudden large tear or smaller tears over time. It is important to slowly stretch your muscles before any exercise activity that puts a strain on them and then stop your routine before you begin to experience soreness, burning and pain sensations. Additionally, you should try to prevent any jerking or repetitive motions that can cause tears. A specialist can teach you everything you need to know to correctly perform various exercises without causing injuries. Click here for details.
Various Work and Play Activities
Since repetitive motions strain muscles, repetitive work and playtime activities can cause tears. Tears are common among workers who use their arms a lot, especially those who extend their arms out and up and/or lift heavy objects repeatedly, such as house painters, carpenters, cleaners, librarians and retail visual specialists. Sports that can result in tears include archery, baseball or softball, basketball, golf, rowing, swimming and weightlifting. Even video game play has been connected to rotator cuff injuries.
Everyone is at risk of having at least one rotator cuff tear during their lifetimes from natural deterioration or an accident. That said, there are things that you can do to prevent tears. Always stretch before strenuous activities, ease muscles into any type of use, take regular breaks and focus on moderation when performing tasks.