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Shoulder Muscle Tear Causes and Symptoms

Eshealthtips.com – Shoulder tears can be very painful and make performing even simple tasks difficult. The tear can be caused by a sudden injury or by a gradual wear and tear. Symptoms of a shoulder muscle tear include pain, limited motion, and swelling. Depending on its severity, the tear may require physical therapy or surgery. The following symptoms can help you identify a tear and decide what treatment is best for you. Let us look at some of the most common causes of shoulder tears.

Injury to the Bursa that Protects the Shoulder Blade

Shoulder muscle tears often begin with an injury to the bursa that cushions the shoulder blade. This bursa is responsible for protecting the supraspinatus tendon, a muscle within the rotator cuff. When the bursa is damaged, shoulder movements become painful. A shoulder muscle tear can be either partial or full thickness. If you suffer from one of these injuries, it is recommended that you seek medical care right away.

The most common symptoms of a shoulder muscle tear include a tearing or popping sensation during overhead activities. Pain may be sharp or dull and may interfere with everyday activities. In some cases, shoulder pain can even affect sleep. A medical professional will examine you to determine the type of shoulder injury. But if the pain persists, you should see a doctor for further evaluation. So, how do you determine whether you have a shoulder muscle tear?

Depending on the size and location of the tear, there are several treatment options available for this injury. Small tears often heal on their own with physical therapy and rest, while a full tear will require corticosteroid injections and surgery. If you experience symptoms over six to twelve months, consider surgery. This option may be worth the cost. If the pain persists for more than 6 months, consider surgery as an alternative to physical therapy.

MRI or Ultrasound Can Help Diagnose a Torn Rotator Cuff

MRI or ultrasound can help diagnose a torn rotator cuff. Both tests use ultrasound to generate images of soft tissues. MRI provides an accurate diagnosis, while ultrasound is less expensive. It also allows for dynamic assessments of the shoulder. An MRI also allows your doctor to determine if there are other pathologies in the joint or a ruptured muscle. If you suspect you have a shoulder muscle tear, your doctor will prescribe you the most appropriate treatment options.

Another common cause is overuse of the shoulder. Repetitive movements, such as lifting heavy objects, can cause a tear in the shoulder muscles. This can cause significant pain and cause decreased movement. This condition can also be caused by direct blows or falls. If you have an unstable shoulder, you’re more likely to experience a shoulder muscle tear. And if you have a weak shoulder, a rotator cuff tear can be a result of overuse.

Depending on the severity of your tear, surgery is a good option. If your tear is complete, your doctor may need to stitch the area and reattach the tendon to the bone. If it’s not reattached, he may have to remove some bone or pieces of it from the shoulder joint to make room for the tendon. In rare cases, your doctor may recommend a shoulder replacement.

Conservative treatment for a shoulder muscle tear typically involves painkillers and muscle relaxants, physical therapy, and rest. Surgical treatment may involve a steroid injection and local anesthetic. Patients who choose conservative treatment can expect to experience some pain during the recovery process. It is important to note that you should not do exercises that aggravate the symptoms. A shoulder muscle tear may also lead to a frozen shoulder. You should seek medical care immediately if you are not able to perform your daily activities or you are concerned about the extent of your injury.

Surgery for a shoulder muscle tear involves inserting an arthroscope into the shoulder. Using this tool, surgeons can see the damage to the tendon and reattach the tendons to the upper arm bone. In some cases, a partial tear may require trimming only the fraying part of the tendon. In other cases, a shoulder muscle tear may only require a surgical procedure to remove bone spurs and reattach the tendon to the upper arm bone.

MRIs are the most reliable tool for determining the condition of the biceps tendon. These images are created with magnetic waves and are particularly useful in identifying other problems that may be present in the shoulder. MRI can also detect the presence of other shoulder problems, including rotator cuff tears. Even though surgery is necessary for the ruptured long head of the biceps, it is usually not necessary in older individuals. Patients may even be able to tolerate some loss of arm strength.


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Brox, Jens Ivar. “Shoulder pain.” Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology 17.1 (2003): 33-56.


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