The rotator cuff is one of those body parts that you probably wouldn’t think about much – until it’s been injured. Comprised of muscles and tendons, the rotator cuff has the important job of keeping the ball (head) of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. Whether you want to reach for something on a high shelf, pull your shirt over your head, play a game of volleyball, or brush your hair, you need your rotator cuff to do it, which is why rotator cuff injuries can be so inconvenient.
Injuries to the rotator cuff usually happen as the result of wear and tear from overuse. If you’ve got a job that requires you to move your arm a certain way over and over, such as a painter or carpenter, or you play sports such as tennis or baseball, then your risk of getting a rotator cuff injury increases significantly. In some cases, the injuries happen as a result of a single accident, such as falling or trying to lift something heavy. Either way, the symptoms usually involve pain or a dull to deep ache in the shoulder, arm weakness, and difficulty moving your arm up or behind your back.
So, what should you do if your rotator cuff hurts? There are a few home remedies that can help alleviate the pain as the injury heals on its own over the span of approximately six months. Some of the treatments include:
- Avoiding repetitive motions or sports that require you to lift your arm over your head
- Applying a cold pack for 15 to 20 minutes every three to four hours in order to reduce inflammation before alternating to a hot pack or heating pad after a few days to relax the muscles
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Gently stretching in order to increase your mobility
If these methods don’t work and your pain continues to keep you from doing daily activities, it’s best to go to a doctor. One of the most convenient ways that you can be seen fast for your rotator cuff pain is by going to an urgent care clinic. The Solv app will provide you with a list of all the urgent care centers closest to you, tell you which ones accept your insurance, and even let you make an appointment that same day. Plus, since urgent care centers have extended hours, you can be seen during your lunch break, on the weekend, or any time that is most convenient for you.