Shoulder Injuries - Information for Patients throughout the Newark, New Jersey Area
The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the human body, but it is also one of the most fragile. The shallow ball and socket joint of the shoulder allows for an amazing range of rotation, and it is held together in a complex formation of muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments. In a trauma situation, such as an auto, slip and fall or work related accident; these structures are extremely vulnerable to injury. Shoulder injuries can be painful and frustrating when they prevent us from performing daily functions. Common shoulder accident injuries include:
- Auto: The rotator cuff can be injured when a driver is hit from behind while their hands are pressed firmly on the steering wheel or from impact trauma. The rotator cuff refers to the group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder. They act as support to the shoulder bones (humerus, scapula, and clavicle) and allow the arm to move and rotate freely, as well as keeping the shoulder in place Broken bones and nerve impingement are common injuries in an auto accident. The seat belt restraining either the left or right shoulder can result in anterior dislocation.
- Slip and Fall: A shoulder injury can occur from a slip and fall when someone lands on an outstretched arm, resulting in fractures, dislocation, muscle and ligament tears or inflammation. Nerve damage from other areas such as the back or neck can radiate out to the shoulder, causing pain, discomfort and loss of mobility.
- Workers Comp: Stress from repetitive tasks, such as pushing or pulling heavy objects can put strain on the shoulder and lead to damage. A worker who loads heavy boxes onto a truck may experience shoulder pain from this repeated motion. Repetitive stress injuries that impact the shoulder can also result from an un-ergonomic workstation. Poor posture while working can lead to muscular imbalance in the shoulders, tendonitis in the rotator cuff, or inflammation between the fluid cushions of the rotator cuff and the shoulder bones (bursitis).
- Sports: Shoulder injuries are very common among athletes, due to either repetitive stress, or to some type of trauma. The rotator cuff is particularly prone to injuries; such as tears or inflammation. Shoulder instability or dislocation may also occur, where the humeral head (the “ball”) moves out of the glenoid (the “socket”). Other sport related shoulder injuries include impingement, Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior (SLAP) tears, or Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) tears.
Shoulder injuries are often complex, involving both bones and soft tissues. The effects of an accident on the shoulder may not be immediately apparent either, as nerve damage and soreness can show up days, weeks, or even months later. Insurance companies are notorious for denying shoulder injury claims, saying that the condition was already present or wasn’t caused by the accident. Suburban Orthopaedic Medical Center has chiropractors and other medical professionals that specialize in diagnosing and treating shoulder injuries. Not only are our health professionals able to evaluate the complex soft tissue damage that can the shoulder can sustain in an accident, they are able to clearly document these injuries and show that they are a direct result of an accident. This is extremely important information needed for litigation and insurance claims. Suburban Orthopedic Medical Center has worked with thousands of accident victims nationwide, helping them recover from shoulder accident injuries.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The part of the shoulder most commonly injured is the rotator cuff. Since we rely on our shoulders for so many things day to day, it can be very frustrating when the rotator cuff suffers an injury. The rotator cuff refers to the group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder. They act as support to the shoulder bones (humerus, scapula, and clavicle) and allow the arm to move and rotate freely, as well as keeping the shoulder in its ball and socket joint.
With a rotator cuff injury, daily tasks such as lifting grocery bags, driving, or even sleeping can suddenly become painful chores that affect your quality of life. Without a healthy rotator cuff, it can be difficult do the things you want to do, such as play sports or exercise. It can also be very painful when reaching over head or extending your arms to drive your car with a damaged rotator cuff. Shoulder injuries can be very serious, but luckily they can be healed if the proper measures are taken as soon as possible.
There are several different ways that the rotator cuff can be damaged. Tendinitis occurs when the tendons become inflamed. Bursitis occurs when fluid filled sacs called bursas between the tendons and the shoulder joints suffer irritation and inflammation. Over time, inflammation and can cause the tendons to weaken and become susceptible to tears. Muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff can also tear from extreme exertion or overuse. Some common causes of rotator cuff injuries are.
- Aging: As we age, our ability to heal and regenerate slows down, and thus the delicate tendons of the rotator cuff become prone to injury.
- Poor posture: Slouching your neck and shoulders can weaken your rotator cuff by pinching muscles and tendons under bones. Stress from tight neck and back muscles also impact the rotator cuff and can cause injury.
- Falling: Breaking a fall with an outstretched arm can cause the tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff to bruise and tear.
- Physical exertion: Physical exertion from pulling, pushing, or lifting objects can damage the rotator cuff. This commonly occurs in weight lifters who have weak stabilizing muscles and tendons in the shoulders that cannot handle the weight that their larger muscle groups can.
- Repetitive stress: Repetitive movements or positions can cause stress and inflammation on the rotator cuff. This can be from swinging a baseball bat, using a computer mouse, or painting a wall.
If left untreated, rotator cuff injuries can irritate nerves and cause permanent damage to your shoulder. The rotator cuff is a delicate area, so you don’t want to let just anyone to manipulate it. If you feel any pain or discomfort, you should seek out a chiropractor or medical professional who understands how to treat these complex types of injuries. Suburban Orthopaedic Medical Center's specialists have helped countless patients recover from rotator cuff injuries. They know exactly how to treat and document these injuries, and will help you get back to doing the things you want to do without worrying about shoulder pain.