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 therapy 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.
When people think blood flow beyond exercise, they instantly think "heating pad". Unfortunately, many individuals make the mistake in believing that a simple heating pad or microwavable gel packs will provide the blood flow needed to heal injured tissues. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To begin with, heating pads and warmed gel packs work on conduction. The heat they generate has to be forced through multiple layers of skin and fatty tissues. With each layer of skin the heat passes through, there is a corresponding energy loss because that heat is absorbing into each layer it passes through- the skin is an excellent insulator! Your body responds to this heat by increasing the blood flow near your skins surface (not in your injured tissue) to dissipate the heat and it does so quite effectively.
By the time what little heat reaches below the skin, sub-dermal layer and fat layer into the targeted area (the dense, injured tissues), very little energy remains and this does not effectively enhance blood flow. With little blood flow reaching these injured tissues - healing just doesn't happen.
The heating pad may feel comforting when on the body, but that is because the warmth is absorbing into the skin. Moist heat has been believed to be more effective at warming internal tissues versus dry heat, because it is believed that water transfers heat more quickly than through air. Clinical studies do not support that popular belief.
When you are using a heating pad, all that you are really accomplishing is warming of the skin. The unintended consequence is that you draw blood flow AWAY from the targeted tissues (the injured ones deeper in the body) and direct the blood flow to the surface of the body.
Warming the skin will not significantly contribute to healing of muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, or any other tissues.
So If A Heating Pad Is Not The Answer, What Is?
In order to effectively stimulate blood flow to the dense tissue deep within the body, an energy based on an electromagnetic principal (diathermy) is needed. In essence, this is a conversion energy vs a conductive heat (like the heating pad example above - that is conductive heat).
Electromagnetic energy waves are not conductive heat waves - they are a much longer wavelength and hence, penetrate deep into the body. They are very safe and very effective as research over decades has shown. The F.D.A recognizes this as fact.
When these energy waves are emitted,they penetrate right through your skin and fat layers until they are absorbed by tissue high in protein. This means ligaments, muscles, cartilage, tendons and bone. Once they reach the targeted areas, they are absorbed and quickly converted into thermal energy... right at the location of the injury.
This results in relaxation of the vessel walls. The vessels then gently expand, allowing for more nutrient rich blood flow along with extra oxygen and antibodies to reach the damaged tissues. Plus, the enhanced blood flow helps in flushing cell waste and fluid build-up from the injury site - further enhancing the ability of the body to heal.
As mentioned above, standard heating pads and heated gel packs accomplish the exact opposite of your goals. They direct blood flow to the skin, not to the injured muscles and soft tissues you are trying to heal.
Electromagnetic energy is a form of energy will easily penetrate through clothing, skin, and fatty tissues... directly into your injured muscles and soft tissues within the shoulder. After the energy absorbs into the shoulder, the metabolic response then kick starts the repair and rebuilding process.
More blood now begins to flow effectively to the injured tissues deep within the body. The injured tissue needs the extra blood flow to heal as it is through the blood the body carries the oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies needed for proper and long-term healing.
While the concept of electromagnetic energy is slowly catching on in North America, the truth is, it is a technology that has been utilized in other societies for decades. Over the past 30 years, researchers in Japan and China have completed extensive studies on the use of the modality and their findings have been impressive. In addition, success has been reported in studies from countries such as Sweden and Germany.
Research is continuing and soon, much of North America will know what the Far East and Europe has known for a long time; electromagnetic energy provides a wide range of health benefits for those not only suffering from rotator cuff injuries, but for many other ailments (plantar fasciitis, bursitis, tendinitis, Tenosynovitis, frozen shoulder, golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, etc.) as well.
Now, on to recommendation number two in the journey to heal your injured shoulder...
The Shoulder T•Shellz Wrap® - Heal Your Shoulder For The Long Term
The best option we came across in our research to accomplish true healing of shoulder injuries is the Shoulder T•Shellz Wrap®. Use of this device results in a dramatic increase in blood flow to the injured tissues located deeper within the body - all in a non-invasive manner.
Have you seen what happens when you add water to a flower wilted from drought? In essence, your injured shoulder is much like a "wilted" flower; your body wants to heal its injury, but needs lots of nutrients to do it. Blood brings new life to your cells by delivering healing nutrients and oxygen that are vital to your tissue. In addition, the blood carries away toxins and cellular waste cleaning the area and healing it faster. Without a good supply of blood, your shoulder simply won't heal properly.
Using a T•Shellz Wrap® will not expose you to the risk of causing further harm to soft tissue like you can when using rigorous exercise. The Shoulder T•Shellz Wrap® accomplishes the goal of enhanced blood flow without the need for intensive exercise and as such reduces your risk of re-injury.
T•Shellz Wrap® = Accelerated Healing Power for Your Shoulder Injury
The Shoulder T•Shellz Wrap® is based on the scientifically validated principal of Electromagnetic energy as we discussed previously. This form of treatment is safe and effective as shown in numerous studies which can be referenced through the National Library of Medicine. Professional athletes and those in the medical field have been users of the technology for decades - it really hasn't been until recently that companies like ours introduced the treatment devices to the home user.
The healing energy from the T•Shellz Wrap® does not absorb into the skin - it absorbs directly into the damaged muscle and soft tissue (as a result, you will not feel the same level of heat on the skin versus a heating pad). The longer wavelength provides the electromagnetic energy wrap with the capability of penetrating deep into the body (well over two and a half inches).
EM energy emitted from the T•Shellz Wrap® is absorbed by high protein tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage) and is converted into Kinetic energy - much of this energy being released as heat. Overall, EM energy will warm soft tissues, improve blood circulation, and boost metabolism and enzyme activity. In stimulating localized blood flow to damaged soft tissue, you provide needed oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies to regenerate new, healthy collagen. In addition, you will experience a clearing of toxins and excess fluid build up from the injury site. Over the intermediate term, this helps to reduce incidents of swelling as trapped fluids will be whisked away - reducing pressure on blood vessels.
Using the T-Shell Wrap is truly a unique experience. Within moments of applying a treatment to your injured shoulder, you can feel the healing sensation due to the increase in blood flow deep within the area. During a treatment, and for quite some time after you finish, the treated area will feel relaxed and less painful. It's a very soothing sensation and extremely effective.
Who Should Use the T•Shellz Wrap®
We recommend the use of a T•Shellz Wrap®:
- If you have injured your rotator cuff or other soft tissue in your shoulder, then the T-Shell Wrap will accelerate your healing.
- If you have injured your shoulder and need surgery, then this is exactly what you need after your surgery to help the surgically repaired tissues rebuild for long-term health.
- If you are dealing with conditions affecting your range of motion such as shoulder impingement or even arthritis.
- If you have a chronic shoulder condition that has lasted for years- this device will help start the rebuilding process and help strengthen the surrounding and supporting tissues. Many of our past clients had suffered for years, then were completely amazed at the results only after a few months of treatments.
- If you are still working with an injured shoulder, the T•Shellz Wrap® will help relax injured soft tissue 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 T•Shellz Wrap® prior to activity to help reduce chances of re-injuring or re-aggravating those targeted tissues.
- If you are suffering from bursitis in your shoulder and want to treat the major source of it (secondary damage to the muscle and tendon surrounding the bursa sac). Through overuse or degenerative changes in the shoulder, the 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 soothing and deep penetrating energy to the shoulder relaxes the tissues and takes the pressure off the bursa.
- If you are experiencing atrophy in your shoulder and want to reduce the chance of re-injury - this is a perfect treatment to use on a regular basis.
- If you have been to physical therapy and your physical therapist or physician told you to get a radiant energy wrap for your rotator cuff, then this is exactly what you need.
- If you have injured your shoulder and need surgery, then this is exactly what you need after your surgery (once the surgery wound has healed)
- 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.
Increased Blood Circulation = Increased Healing Rate
What Else Makes the Shoulder T•Shellz Wrap® So Special?
We believe the T•Shellz Wrap® to be one of the most effective treatments to stimulate blood flow to dense, injured tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other similar tissues.
We can promise that you will receive a product that is designed to be safe and does what it is supposed to do...quickly relieve pain and aid in the recovery from tendon, muscle and other soft tissue injuries.
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.
It 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 so you can sit or lie comfortably and watch TV, read or surf the net while you're using it.
Treatments are max 30 minutes in duration and the device can be worn over clothing. This allows you to use the device at work, at home, or really anywhere you have access to an electrical outlet.
A Recap of the Benefits of the T•Shellz Wrap®..
- Can be used on either the Left or Right Shoulder - very versatile
- Targeted treatment of Rotator Cuff, Bursitis, Impingement, Arthritis, etc
- It can be used before exercise to warm up your shoulder to reduce the risk of injury
- FDA Registered medical device for use in home or clinics - very high quality
- Greatly enhances healing of tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Increases flexibility of tissues (reducing the re-injury factor)
- It soothes pain and whisks away toxins
- Carbon fiber Energy Pad is strong, lightweight, and flexible - contours very easily
- It provides an accelerated healing rate that will save time and money when associated with doctor or physical therapist visits
- it is an outstanding tool for post-surgery rehabilitation, getting you back to work faster
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 T•Shellz 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 T•Shellz 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 T•Shellz 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 T•Shellz Wrap® treatment.
Whether you decide to use the Arnica Infusion in conjunction with the T-Shell 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:
What You Definitely Need to Successfully Treat
& Heal Your Rotator Cuff Injury at Home:
- A Cold Compress or Ice Pack to reduce inflammation of the soft tissue injury (as soon as possible).
- A Deep Tissue Therapeutic Shoulder TShellz Wrap to increase Blood-flow to the injured shoulder (Deep Tissue Therapy Therapy).
- MendMeShop Arnica Pain Cream for temporary relief of pain due to sore muscles and joints.
- An Exercise & Stretching Plan to prevent muscle atrophy and shortened tendons. A proper plan will increase elasticity and strengthen the muscles of the shoulder and tendons of the shoulder.
Conservative treatment tools just like these have been used successfully by thousands of shoulder injury sufferers - just like you.
DTR Therapy = Greatly Increased Blood Flow in Your Injured Shoulder
We believe the use of T•Shellz Wraps for effective treatment of soft tissue shoulder injuries is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have thousands of customers that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how effective and fast the TShellz Wrap treatment can heal soft tissue injuries.
With regular use of the Shoulder TShellz Wrap:
- Your pain will be reduced.
- Your injury will heal at an accelerated rate with reduced potential for re-injury.
- Your corresponding shoulder will have a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue. (Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition.
(amazon.com link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
Not only does the incorporation of conservative treatments (such as the use of a Cold Compress or Ice Pack and the Shoulder T•Shellz Wrap®) accelerate the healing 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, scar tissue becomes softer and the tendons, ligaments and other soft tissue become stronger 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
Learn more about about how the DTR Therapy T•Shellz Wrap® helps with the healing process.
Learn more about which is better for your rotator injury - ice or heat
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