“I Think I May Have Torn My Rotator Cuff”

Often times clients come in with shoulder pain and say “I think I may have torn my rotator cuff.

There are many injuries and condition that can effect your shoulder and it is always in your best interest to see your doctor if you suspect a rotator cuff injury.

Lets look at what the rotator cuff is…

Illustration of rotator cuff

Picture of the Rotator Cuff

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The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles in the shoulder, connecting the upper arm (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff tendons provide stability to the shoulder; the muscles allow the shoulder to rotate.

The muscles in the rotator cuff include:

  • Teres minor
  • Infraspinatus
  • Supraspinatus
  • Subscapularis

Each muscle of the rotator cuff inserts at the scapula, and has a tendon that attaches to the humerus. Together, the tendons and other tissues form a cuff around the humerus.

Most often it is the Supraspinatus that gets torn, often at the tendon connecting to the humerus bone. What is the most common cause of a torn rotator?

http://www.howardluksmd.com/orthopedic-social-media/cause-rotator-cuff-tears-shoulder-expert-series/

Rotator cuff tears are very common.  The older you are, the more common they are.  Why is that? What is the cause of rotator cuff tears?

More than 40% of patients over 60 will have a rotator cuff tear and not even know it

Most people with shoulder pain who are found to have a rotator cuff tear on an MRI do not recall a single, isolated traumatic event.  They may have felt a pop when moving their shoulder, but they didn’t fall or get into an accident.  When we find a tear in this scenario the cause of the rotator cuff tear is usually “degenerative tendinosis”.  Tendinosis is a condition when your rotator cuff tissue simply wore out.  Like you favorite pair of blue jeans … or that sock you just poked your toe through.  Trauma is another cause of rotator cuff tears, but traumatic tears are far less common then degenerative tears.

The most common cause of rotator cuff tears is degeneration of your rotator cuff tissue. It’s an unfortunate consequence of genetics, aging and our cumulative activities.  Trauma can also cause the rotator cuff to tear.

Other conditions that may mimic a rotator cuff tear include
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Rotator Cuff Disease

Your shoulder is responsible for a wide range of motion and as such we tend to put a lot of daily stress and strain on it. Rotator injuries are very common and if caught and treated early you can prevent further damage and possibly avoid the need for surgery.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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DIY Massage Hacks

There are many simple and inexpensive things you can do at home for self care and I would like to tell you just a few of the things I share with my clients.

Don’t have a heating pad?

No worries, you can make a microwavable rice pack, simply put uncooked (must be uncooked, no minute rice) into a long sock, you can either sew the open end or simply tie a not in it. Toss it into the microwave for about a minute and a half (depending on your microwave settings) and viola, a heating pad that you can put under your neck, sling over your shoulder, or place at the small of you back.

Imagine the creative rice packs you can make with some of the cute socks from the dollar store!

You can also take a hand towel, moisten it and toss that in the microwave for about a minute depending on your microwave settings, as long as it is damp it will not burn.

Need an ice pack?

Yes, you can put that rice pack in the freezer but when it comes to cold I prefer uncooked kidney beans.  You can keep the cold pack either in the fridge or in the freezer.

Some use this same method but on a larger scale by taking pillow cases and sewing horizontal lines and filling the channels with rice then sewing the open end for a large ice pack for the back. You can get creative, have fun with this.

You can also add some herbs such as lavender or rosemary to your rice pack, but over time those can lose their fragrance and can also catch fire in the microwave so I prefer to just add some essential oil if I want a relaxing scent.

Need some self massaging tools?

For the hard to reach places such as the shoulders a tennis ball placed in a long sock and slung over the shoulder can help you roll out those tense shoulders.

You can also place a lacrosse ball or soft ball under you glute muscles and gently roll out any glute tension.

A golf ball can work wonders on tight forearm muscles, simply cup it in your hand and gently rock it back and forth on the muscles of the forearm, you will get a deep tissue massage with minimal effort on your part.

Want a soothing sugar scrub?

You can make your own sugar scrubs at a fraction of the cost of commercial ones. Using your favorite oil, jojoba,  olive oil, argan oil, almond oil, etc and mix it into some finely granulated sugar (brown sugar also works great for this) and add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Avoid “fragrance” oils as those are synthetic, always look for “essential oils” for use on the body.

You can also do the same thing with salt or sea salt and make a salt scrub.

Keep in mind that the homemade scrubs will not keep as long as commercial ones because you are not using added preservatives or chemicals and oils do go rancid after a while.

 

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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Lactic Acid, The Myths

The concept of “lactic acid build up” has been an often repeated myth in the exercise community for many decades now, Lets take a brief look at the myths and the facts of what really causes that post workout muscle soreness.

  • What is Lactic Acid? Simply stated the body converts carbohydrates into lactic acid during a strenuous workout which is converted into lactate.
  • What does it do? It produces energy for the muscles during a strenuous activity.
  • Does lactic acid build up? Actually no, it begins to break down  in just a few hours after a work out.
  • Does lactic acid/lactate cause muscle soreness? No, in fact there are no studies showing that lactic acid causes muscle soreness.

(Myth) The accumulation of lactate causes fatigue in muscles.

(Fact) Lactate does not cause fatigue, and on the contrary is a useful and efficient fuel source[2].

(Myth) Lactic acid can be measured in the blood using a lactate analyzer.

(Fact) Lactic acid does not exist in the blood. As soon as it is produced, the substance thought to be lactic acid disassociates into lactate and hydrogen (More on lactate and hydrogen below). A lactate analyzer measures the concentration of lactate (a useful fuel) in the blood.

(Myth) Lactate clearance and lactate tolerance refer to how the body deals with fatigue.

(Fact) Since lactate does not cause fatigue, its clearance from the blood depends on the body’s ability to use it as fuel. The body not only tolerates lactate, but at times prefers lactate over glucose as an energy source[6].

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/lactate-and-lactic-acid-dispelling-the-myths/

So what really causes the muscle pain after a work out?

What is it then that causes DOMS for days after exercise? The answer is swelling in the muscle compartment that results from an influx of white blood cells, prostaglandins (which are antiinflammatory), and other nutrients and fluids that flow to the muscles to repair the “damage” after a tough workout. The type of muscle damage I am referring to is microscopic (it occurs in small protein contractile units of the muscle called myofibrils) and is part of the normal process of growth in the body called anabolism. It is not the type of damage or injury that you see your doctor about. The swelling and inflammation can build up for days after a workout, and that’s why muscle soreness may be worse two, three, or even four days after a workout

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=78966

In summary lactic acid is not the cause of delayed onset muscle soreness, lactic acid does not build up in the body, and it is in fact a valuable source of energy for the muscle during a strenuous workout. Lactate is converted back into glucose and filtered out by the liver and is a naturally occurring chemical in the body.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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