All patients with shoulder pain are advised to rule out a rotator cuff disease. A patient must ask the physician to rule out a rotator cuff disease, as it is the most common and treatable cause of shoulder pain and impairment.
When to suspect a rotator cuff tear?
- Occurs more often in a person's dominant arm
- More commonly found among people older than 40 years
- Pain usually worse at night and interferes with sleep
- Worsening pain followed by gradual weakness
- Decrease in ability to move the arm, especially out to the side
- Deep ache in the shoulder also felt on the outside upper arm
- Sudden tearing sensation followed by severe pain shooting through the arm
- Motion limited by pain and muscle spasm
- acute pain from bleeding and muscle spasm (often goes away in a few days)
- In some cases, shoulder can be a symptom of other illnesses such as a heart condition. Pain from a rotator cuff problem is worsened with movement. If you have unexplained shoulder pain that is not affected by movement, you should call the doctor.
- If shoulder pain lasts more than two days
- If shoulder problems (pain) do not allow you to work
- If you are unable to reach overhead to get an item in a cabinet above shoulder level, for example
- If you are unable to play a certain sport such as baseball or engage in an activity such as swimming
When to call the doctor