How Is A Rotator Cuff Injury Diagnosed?
Medical professionals (such as an orthopedic surgeon or physician) will be able to assess, test and diagnose whether you have a Rotator Cuff injury through a variety of processes.
To begin with, they will gather a medical history about you and your current condition and symptoms. They will inquire about the intensity of your present pain, the duration of your symptoms and the limitations you are experiencing. Details about what instigated the problem, when it started, and whether or not you have ever had treatments for this or a similar condition in the past, are very helpful in assessing your injury.
A physical examination will be performed to determine if you have any signs of a Rotator Cuff or other shoulder injury. They will visually assess and palpate (feel) the bones and soft tissue in both your shoulders to evaluate symmetry and recognize differences. This will identify any abnormalities, such as mild or severe inflammation, bone deformity, atrophied muscles, redness and/or warmth on the skin. You will generally be asked to complete a series of movements to measure your active (performed by you) and passive (performed by your examiner) range of motion. These will test any possible shoulder impingements, as well as your shoulder strength, joint stability and location of tenderness.
Other areas near the source of discomfort, such as your neck, may be examined to ensure your pain is not coming from a "pinched nerve" in the cervical spine, or to rule out osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
The Most Common Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Diagnostic Tests
A medical professional will sometimes recommend diagnostic testing to obtain more detailed information about your shoulder condition. There are a variety of different tests available to help them analyze the situation; however these will be dependent on your injury.
X-rays provide an image of the overall structure of the shoulder, and are helpful in identifying abnormal bone shapes and/or spurs, arthritis, or calcific tendinitis.
MRIs or CT scans will provide more detailed information and will help to evaluate soft tissue (muscle, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue) injuries such as fluid in the shoulder, tendinitis and/or tears.
CT or CAT scan (computerized tomography)
This will be used to provide a more thorough assessment of the bones and tissues in your Rotator Cuff and shoulder.
Further diagnostic tests such as an arthrogram, ultrasound, electromyogram, or arthroscopic surgery can be used to determine the degree and location of your injury if required.
If you are experiencing Rotator Cuff tendinitis, you will generally feel pain and weakness when the arm is lifted in front of the body or overhead. Often all that will be required to determine your condition is a discussion of your medical history, as well as a visual and physical examination of your shoulder. You may be asked to perform a few movement tests to identify which areas of the Rotator Cuff are damaged, such as the following:
To test your Supraspinatus strength, hold your arms out in front of you at a 30 degree angle with your elbows locked and your thumbs pointing down. Gentle pressure will be applied to the top of your arms as you try to move your arms up and away from your body.
To test if you have an impingement you may be asked to raise your arm overhead, lock your elbow and rotate your arm inward so your thumb is pointing downward; pain with movement is a key indicator.
A Rotator Cuff tear will be evident after determining your limited range of motion and the weakness in your muscles; with a tear you will often not be able to complete the movement tests as a result of the pain. An X-ray will generally be taken to help explain other possible sources of the shoulder pain. Occasionally an MRI will be recommended which will identify the degree of specific tissue tears, swelling and fluid in the Rotator Cuff.
If you have experienced shoulder instability pay special attention to your symptoms. A shoulder subluxation can usually be diagnosed with a physical exam and some movement tests which identify pain or weakness. A dislocation will probably require an X-ray and/or a MRI to assess the overall damage.
Okay, So I Have a Shoulder Injury...What Should I Do Now?
Stage 1: If the Shoulder injury is very recent - use a good quality cold pack and Arnica Pain Relief Cream. If the injury has been going on for awhile, then skip to Stage 2 below.
If you are experiencing pain and swelling in the very early stages of the injury (first 48 to 72 hours), the first step in a conservative treatment protocol would be to focus on reducing the discomfort by applying a quality cold pack to the injured shoulder along with a high quality pain relief cream such as our Arnica Infusion Cream.
Not only will you use your cold pack for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, but you should also use it during other stages of the healing process. Some examples include...
- after any activity that stresses the shoulder in a moderate way. It is wise to quickly apply cold therapy to not only reduce the pain, but to also minimize tissue damage that may have occurred during the prior event.
- If you have a job that requires you to place some demands on your injured shoulder. If that is the case, use cold therapy immediately following work and if the opportunity allows - use it for 15 to 20 minutes during lunch or another break time.
- If you are in a post-operative situation where cold compression would be utilized heavily for at least the first few weeks following the procedure. Similarly, if you are scheduled for upcoming surgery, then you will need a high quality cold therapy device to use.
Having a Cold Compress or Ice Pack available at home to use if and when the need arises is helpful. Many of you already do so.
However, too many people over-focus on cold therapy while ignoring the most critical aspect to healing - nourishing the injured tissues with a healthy supply of blood flow needed to repair and rebuild the injured tissues.
This leads to the most important recommendation...
Stage 2: Focus on Increasing Blood Flow To The Injured Tissue - As This is The ONLY Way It Will Heal For the Long-Term
Even though the concept is simple, improving blood flow to injured tissues can be difficult. When the injury is shoulder related, the challenges are even greater. Traditional methods require your muscle to move to promote blood flow (exercise), but that same motion that promotes blood flow can at times lead to making your pain and condition worse.
- Have you reinjured your shoulder by returning to work too quickly?
- How many times in the past have you aggravated your shoulder just trying to perform basic tasks around the home?
- Is your debilitated shoulder preventing you from work or activities you love to do?
Most people we deal with tell us these scenarios have happened to them many times in the past. Perhaps it has already happened to you.
Promoting blood flow within a muscle or soft tissue injury to help the body heal itself is a concept that has been utilized for centuries. This is where the focus has to be if you are seeking long-term improvement.
Oxygen and nutrients, carried within the blood, are critical for the body to heal itself. Without proper blood flow, recovering from an injury or condition will be delayed...sometimes for a very long period of time.
The real challenge is how do you promote blood flow to the shoulder injury site without causing further injury? This goal is further complicated by the fact the shoulder (and muscles controlling the shoulder joint) are involved in the majority of the physical movements we perform each day.
Who Should Use the Shoulder TShellz Wrap®
We recommend the use of a Shoulder TShellz Wrap®:
- If you have bursitis, tendinitis or other soft tissue damage in your shoulder, then the Shoulder TShellz Wrap® will provide the all-important function of boosting blood circulation where it is needed most.
- If you are dealing with soft tissue conditions affecting your range of motion.
- If you have a chronic soft tissue shoulder condition that has lasted for years- this device is intended to kick start the recovery process and help strengthen the surrounding and supporting tissues.
- If you have tight or shortened shoulder tissue that are a high risk of strain- this device is designed to heat tissue - a known and proven way to increase length, elasticity and flexibility of muscles, tendons and ligaments. The TShellz Wrap® is basically a home treatment device to reduce your risk of incurring further soft tissue strain.
- If you are still working with a shoulder strain or mild tear, the TShellz Wrap® will help relax tissue in the shoulder prior to work and after a day at the job.
- If you are still trying to enjoy your favorite activities such as gardening, tennis, golf, etc - use the TShellz Wrap® prior to activity to help reduce risk of re-injuring or re-aggravating those targeted tissues.
- If you are suffering from bursitis and want to treat a major source of it (inflammation and damage to tissue surrounding the bursa sac). Through trauma, overuse or degenerative changes, muscle and tendons surrounding the bursa sacs will tighten and constrict. When they do, they place pressure on the bursa, causing it to become irritated. Applying a TShellz Wrap® to the area will help relax tissue in the treatment area, taking pressure off the bursa.
- If you are experiencing atrophy in your shoulder and want to reduce the chance of re-injury while stretching - this is a perfect treatment to use every time before you stretch.
- If you have been to a clinic for some form of massage or stretching and your PT or physician has recommended conservative treatments for home.
- If you are experiencing atrophy in your shoulder and want to reduce the chance of re-injury (or further injury) while stretching - this is a perfect treatment to use on a regular basis, by enhancing blood flow and elongating soft tissue.
- If you are experiencing tightness in your muscle(s) and want to reduce the chance of re-injury while stretching - we recommend the use of a TShellz Wrap® before you stretch.
...A Quick Recap of Benefits That Can Be Achieved Via the Shoulder TShellz Wrap®..
- It can be used before exercise to warm up the shoulder to reduce the risk of injury (heat elongates soft tissue and makes it more flexible)
- FDA Registered medical device for use in home or clinics - high quality, 1 year warranty, 60 day trial period (100% refund guaranteed)
- Increases temporary flexibility and length of tissues (reducing the re-injury factor when used before activity)
- Carbon fiber Energy Pad is strong, lightweight, and flexible - contours very easily
- A boost in blood flow helps maximize the body's ability to recover from soft tissue damage. This can be beneficial in saving time and money when associated with doctor or physio visits
- A boost in blood flow will maximize the body's ability to recover quickly. This can be beneficial in post-surgery rehabilitation, getting you back to work faster. Do not use until at least 6 weeks after surgery, and only after approval from your doctor.
When Should I Use My TShellz Wrap During the Day?
The most common question we receive from individuals prior to purchasing is - how many times a day should I be using my shoulder wraps and when should I be using them? While treatment plans will differ for each individual and their specific injury, there are general guidelines that should be adhered to.
- Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack when you are experiencing inflammation (usually after exertion or movement of the injury area).
The Shoulder TShellz Wrap® would then be used:
- Right after rising from bed in the morning (as this is when it is most stiff)
- Prior to going to bed at night (to relax the shoulder, allowing for better sleep)
- Before you know you will be using your injured joint (going to work, driving, typing, etc).
Stage 3 - In Between Treatments With TShellz Wrap®, Apply Our New Fast Acting Pain Relief Cream Called ARNICA INFUSION
Dealing with aches and pains affecting the foot, ankle, leg, knee, hamstring, hip, back, arm, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or hand? If so, then applying the Arnica Infusion to any of these targeted areas will bring about fast relief from the pain and sore tissues. Simply apply a small amount of cream to the body and moments later, you will experience a soothing and comforting sensation over the area.
Arnica Infusion is specially designed to relieve pain due to sore muscles and joints associated with arthritis, backaches, sprains, strains, and bruises. No matter if you are dealing with an acute injury, chronic pain, or a general "flare-up" - you will experience fast relief from pain and inflammation.
This is a product that many of our current MendMeShop customers asked us to develop. So we focused our time and resources over the past few years and came up, with we believe, will be one of more effective, fast acting, topical pain relief creams on the market.
You are likely familiar with some of the standard topical agents on the market as most of our customers use them. The are mass marketed and even found in most department stores now.
Well, we are here to say that Arnica Infusion goes many steps beyond what they offer.
Made in the USA at an FDA registered manufacturing facility, you can be assured that Arnica Infusion is both safe and effective. We only source top grade ingredients while implementing strict quality control checks during every step of the production process. Expect the same high quality that MendMeShop customers have been accustomed to since we started the company in 2005.
The "Cool Blue" formula is the perfect balance between the smooth application of a cream and the effective absorbing factor of a gel. It is not too thick and not too thin - just the right texture. Best of all, it feels very nice on the skin!
Each application of Arnica Infusion feels so comforting and soothing, we are certain it will become an item you will not want to live without.
Arnica Infusion Ingredients
The Arnica Infusion formula is based on a combination of scientific research and the use of high quality ingredients. The properties within the formula were chosen for their pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and soothing qualities.
The acting ingredients within the formula include ones many of us are familiar with; along with ones that have not received a lot of publicity (only in research circles). Extensive testing resulted in a blending of ingredients that provides the most synergistic of benefits.
The notable ingredients in the Arnica Infusion formula include:
- Arnica - powerful anti-inflammatory, speeds recovery, enhances circulation
- Menthol - provides deep penetrating pain relief with a nice cooling sensation
- Vitamin B6 - promotes normal nerve function
- MSM - supports healthy connective tissues, anti-inflammatory
- Ilex Leaf Extract - increases circulation, skin conditioner
- Vitamin E - anti-inflammatory, enhances circulation, hydrates the skin
- Aloe - anti-inflammatory properties, soothes the skin
- Tea Tree - enhances penetration of ingredients
Extensive quality control procedures during the manufacturing process ensure the ingredients and final product are both safe and effective. We would not stake our reputation on anything but the best.
When Do I Apply the Arnica Infusion?
While At Work
Apply Arnica Infusion at work to help reduce acute discomfort associated with overuse of muscles and joints. No matter if you are in a physical demanding job or work within an office environment, you will be placing stress on different parts of the body and aches and pains will result.
Before Or After Work, Sports, & Activity
If you suffer from a sprained ligament, pulled muscle, strained tendon, or even bruising - apply Arnica Infusion for quick relief of the pain.
Chronic Pain Suffering
Application of Arnica Infusion can be done up to a maximum of 4 times per day on a consistent basis to help bring about relief from various pains and aches.
In-between Treatments With the TShellz Wraps®
Follow up your T-Shellz and Cold treatments with an application of Arnica Infusion. Combine the pain relieving benefits of Arnica Infusion along with the healing benefits of the wraps to make your recovery go much more smoothly.
Do not apply Arnica Infusion within a 2 hour timespan before a TShellz Wrap® treatment.
Whether you decide to use the Arnica Infusion in conjunction with the TShellz Wrap® and other treatments - or if you decide to use the cream as a stand-alone product - you will not be disappointed with the results. We guarantee it.
A Note On OverCompensation
Since you are reading this, you probably know that serious shoulder injuries do not just disappear. Over time, they usually wreak havoc on your elbow due to lack of movement and over-compensation. It will also wreak havoc on your opposite shoulder due to overcompensation. Recovery takes a longer time for such chronic (long term) injuries, but proper healing is essential to regain strength and get you back to the activities you enjoy.
The longer your injury endures, the greater the risk of running into serious overcompensation injuries.
To Stop Re-Injury & Reduce the Risk of a More Serious Overcompensation Injury, You Need to Heal Quickly & Completely!
Anyone in need of rapid recovery and complete healing must consider a comprehensive treatment plan that includes an effective means to minimize swelling and inflammation yet also stimulate healing and tissue elasticity. We have found no better set of tools that can be used at home than this:
Conservative Treatment Tools Our Clients Have Used to Help
Limit Damage & Boost The Body's Soft Tissue Repair Process to the Shoulder at Home:
- A Cold Compress or Ice Pack to reduce inflammation wherever there is pain and/or swelling (as soon as possible).
- A Shoulder TShellz Wrap® to increase blood-flow to the shoulder area (a Localized Enhanced Circulatory Response® Treatment).
- MendMeShop Arnica Pain Cream for temporary relief of pain due to sore muscles and joints.
- A highly adjustable Shoulder Support Brace to provide comfort, support and protection from further injury.
- A High Quality Back Pillow if you are experiencing discomfort while sitting
- An Exercise & Stretching Plan to prevent muscle atrophy and shortened tendons in the shoulder joint. A proper plan will increase elasticity and strengthen the muscles and tendons in the wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder.
Conservative treatment tools just like these have been used successfully by thousands of tendon injury sufferers - just like you.
TShellz Wrap® = Enhanced Blood Flow in the Treatment Area
We believe the use of TShellz Wraps® for boosting blood flow to soft tissue in the area of application is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have client after client that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how effective and fast our recommended treatment tools can provide comfort, relieve pain and increase blood flow in the shoulder and upper arm.
With regular use of the Shoulder TShellz Wrap:
- Your pain will be reduced*.
- Due to increased blood flow, soft tissue in the treatment area on the shoulder will be expected to recover at an accelerated rate with reduced potential for re-injury*.
- Tissue in the treated area should experience a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue* due to the heat effect on soft tissue. This should translate into a reduced rate of re-injury occurrence as soft tissue is known to lengthen and become more flexible when exposed to warm temperature. (*Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition.
(amazon.com link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
Increased Blood Circulation = Increased Healing Capability
TShellz Wraps® contain a unique Carbon Fiber Energy Pad which is flexible and will shape to conform to your body. This Energy Pad emits a uniform wave of perfectly safe energy over its entire surface. This energy is absorbed by soft tissue in the treatment area, opening blood vessels, resulting in an increase in blood flow. Increased blood circulation is what your body needs to maximize its cabability of healing soft tissue and this is why we recommend the TShellz Wrap®.
The Shoulder TShellz Wrap® is an FDA Registered Medical Device and is suitable for use in therapeutic clinics and FROM HOME. It is completely safe for people and patients to use for themselves.
The technology found in a TShellz Wrap® has been used for decades in the worlds of professional and amateur sports - a contributing factor as to why athletes seem to recover from injuries so quickly.
Have you ever wondered by an athlete can return to activity after 3 or 4 weeks following a tendon injury - while your average person takes much longer to return back to normal? The secret isn't really that much of a secret - it involves consistent treatments (meaning multiple times a day) using a treatment like the TShellz Wrap® to stimulate blood flow to the injured tissues. Most athletes have the luxury of using in-house facilities many times per day.
How many us can afford the time and money to visit a clinic multiple times a day? Very few indeed. This is how you can gain some of the advantages that athletes enjoy in their injury recovery - by using a device like the Shoulder TShellz Wrap® two or three times a day on a consistent basis.
Consistent Treatments = Consistent And Long Term Improvement
What Else Makes the Shoulder TShellz Wrap® So Special?
We believe the TShellz Wrap® to be one of the most effective home treatments to increase localized blood flow to soft tissue in and around the treatment area.
We can promise that you will receive a product that is designed to be safe and does what it is supposed to do... reduce pain (as stated in "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin) temporarily increase length & flexibility of soft tissue (as stated in "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin) and aid your body in recovering from tendon, muscle and other soft tissue injuries via enhanced blood flow.
The unit plugs into a standard wall outlet to get its power. The nice thing about the power supply is that the same unit can be used in North America and overseas as well. It has the capability to operate between 110v and 230v.
The TShellz Wrap® has a special signal controller that can be set for 3 different power levels of application (3=High, 2=Medium, 1=Low). The cord is long enough that you can sit or lie comfortably and watch TV, read or surf the net while you're using it.
We recommend 5 to 10 minute treatments to start; the safety shutoff controller is set to max 30 minutes in duration. The device can be worn over clothing and allows you to use the device at work, at home, or really anywhere you have access to an electrical outlet.
Key Points To Keep in Mind When Treating Your Shoulder
Make Sure That Complete Healing is Your #1 Goal
We all know that if the injury was healed, the pain would go away but what about the opposite situation? If the pain is gone, does that mean the injury is better? Unfortunately, this is not always true.
Too many people only focus on suppressing pain symptoms while providing less attention to the true healing aspects of the body. Experiencing less pain, while obviously a good short-term goal, never equates to underlying healing. Scar tissue can remain for months after one gets to a point of being relatively pain-free. However, as long the weak and brittle scar tissue remains, you are susceptible to re-injury or re-aggravation. Certain motions or movements can cause the weaker tissue to easily tear - resulting in some reversal of the recovery up until that point.
This is why we recommend for people to continue with their doctor or therapist recommended exercises and to continue with mild treatments of the TShellz Wrap® for a period of time - to better ensure complete healing.
Ongoing treatments to enhance circulation will soothe, relax and help promote a healthy recovery of damaged tissue in the area. Shoulder T•Shellz treatments will also allow your soft tissue to extend further due to the deep warming sensation created by the enhanced circulation to the treatment area. The more extensible your tissues are, the less likely they are to strain or sprain.
The Shoulder TShellz Wrap® is intended to be highly effective medical device for people suffering from bursitis or other soft tissue shoulder injuries - such as a tear in your muscle, tendon or other soft tissue, strain, tendinopathy, tendinosis, impingements, instability, spasms, capsulitis, pain associated with trigger points, scar tissue, and arthritis.
A large percentage of people who contact us about shoulder pain are unsure about the true causes of their discomfort. It really goes to show how important it is to get a proper diagnosis from your physician. To really deal with a injury, you have to know the injury is - so get to the doctor and find out.
Resting Your Shoulder Will Help, But Only Temporarily
People tell us all the time, "I was told that if I rest my shoulder for a month or two, my problem will disappear for good."
The truth is, aside from an acute injury shoulder pain can be a culmination of numerous factors, which often include repetitive stress, high load issues due to excess weight, and/or overcompensation issues resulting from other muscle and soft tissue ailments.
It may take weeks or months for these pain triggers to surface, but when they do, merely resting will not solve the underlying issues. You need to utilize options that actually treat the source of the pain and help reverse the damage that has been done.
Resting has a role to play, but it is only one small factor in a recovery plan.
Identify What is Causing Your Shoulder Problem & Fix It
Otherwise, It May Come Back
In order to provide long lasting relief from your shoulder pain, you need to identify all the factors that are contributing to it. These factors can include a myriad of issues - some which could be very serious problems in an of themselves. The list is certainly significant and it can be frustrating for people who may have no idea where to begin. This is one of many reasons why you should always get to a physician and , in some cases, a specialist to identify the source of your problem.
Not only does the incorporation of conservative treatments (such as the use of a Cold Compress or Ice Pack and the Shoulder TShellz Wrap®) aid in your home recovery process, but it helps to prevent long term complications. Pain, lack of mobility, tendinosis, or a complete tendon rupture are some of the more common long term complications that can occur when rotator cuff tendinitis, tendon tears, and other injuries go untreated. By treating your rotator cuff with these treatments, you can keep your joint limber and reduce the risk/frequency of re-injury - helping reducing the risk of chronic problems in the future.
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Learn More About The Rotator Cuff
Learn more about Shoulder Surgery and Post-Surgery Recovery
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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!