Rotator Cuff vs Frozen Shoulder

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Rotator cuff injuries are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. But a condition known as frozen shoulder is often mistaken for a rotator cuff problem because it can mimic the symptoms of rotator cuff injuries in its early stages. A rotator cuff injury is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, and pain is caused by overuse or a direct injury. Frozen shoulder also is known as the adhesive capsulitis, is caused by a stiffening of the shoulder capsule, the connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons of the shoulder. Over the time, the shoulder becomes very hard to move.

rotator cuff vs frozen shoulder

The physical therapist will be able to evaluate how limited the patient’s range of motion has become to determine what type of injury has occurred.  During a physical examination, your physical therapist will press on different parts of your shoulder and move your arm into different positions to determine the cause of the pain. If have a rotator cuff injury, your range of motion may be limited by pain, but your physicians should be able to manually lift the arm. Frozen shoulder will decrease the range of motion, and neither you nor your physician will be physically capable of lifting your arm past a certain point.

Rotator cuff injuries can begin from an inflammation of the joint or from a torn tendon. Inflammation can be treated with rest, physical therapy, and medication.

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