Rotator cuff problems can end up causing severe shoulder pain, transmitting stabbing pangs into the shoulder area. Rotator cuff pain is typically the cause of overuse of the shoulder, by actions like lifting heavy things and frequent over the head movements. These motions can lead to partial or complete tearing of the tendons or muscles in the shoulder.
Sometimes rotator cuff pain can be so intense that it wakes you from a deep sleep or keeps you from sleeping all together. The experience can also make it difficult to perform simple tasks like reaching behind your back or even combing your hair. Additional symptoms can be a dull feeling, or weakness in your shoulder. If left untreated, a rotator cuff injury will worsen, especially if you use, or put pressure on the shoulder repeatedly, further agitating and inflaming the injury.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
Bursitis, impingement and rotator cuff tendonitis are common causes of shoulder pain, especially in middle-aged patients. Injuries vary from acute strains, bruising and swelling, to fibrotic thickening, chronic inflammation and weakening of the rotator cuff tendon. Thickening of the rotator cuff and swelling of the bursa can end up pushing the tendon up inside the bony arch area of the scapular acromion, resulting in a painful tendon injury that can lead to a complete tearing of the rotator cuff.
Traditional Pain Relief and Treatments
Anti-inflammatory medications like naproxen or ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and pain. Using a sling can also relieve pain by supporting the arm, relaxing the rotator cuff muscles. Initially, treatment includes ice, rest, and physical therapy to help strengthen the rotator cuff and to reestablish the affected shoulder’s full range of motion. There are other nonsurgical options available as well, including steroid injections that can decrease inflammation in the tight areas where muscle tendons extend across the shoulder joint. Additional treatments include shockwave therapy, therapeutic ultrasound and acupuncture for rotator cuff pain. If the treatments don’t work, or if there’s a complete tearing of the rotator cuff, surgery may be recommended.
Acupuncture for Rotator Cuff Pain
Acupuncture can be very effective in treating rotator cuff injuries, both by healing the injury and improving strength and flexibility. Of all the treatment methods listed above, acupuncture for rotator cuff pain offers a less invasive, holistic alternative. Rotator cuff injuries are often caused by a blockage of blood flow and the flow of energy to the shoulder. This blockage ends up starving the tissues of nourishment which leads to weakness and pain. Acupuncture restores circulation to the shoulder, making it possible for it to receive the nourishment it requires to function appropriately. Acupuncture can also help a patient recover from surgery, especially when used in in conjunction with electric stimulation which helps heal muscles and encourage tissue growth.
If you’re looking for relief, you may want to consider acupuncture for rotator cuff pain. It can reduce shoulder pain, assist in healing, and accelerate the recovery process. If nothing else, consider speaking with an acupuncturist as a complementary addition to your overall treatment plan.