What is the Rotator Cuff?
When a doctor is talking about the rotator cuff they are referring to 4 different muscles that keep the shoulder in the socket. These muscles are Supraspinatus (#1), Infraspinatus (#2), Teres minor (#3), Subscapularis (#4).
What is a Rotator Cuff tear?
A rotator cuff tear is a muscle tear in any one of the four rotator cuff muscles. A muscle tear is any disruption of the muscle fibers of a particular muscle. Since muscles are 3D, tears do not always mean that a muscle has “torn in half”. There are a few different types of tears and I will describe them here. Each of these tears can happen on their own in one muscle, or they can happen at the same time in more than one muscle of the rotator cuff.
Full Thickness Tear
So as you can see, when a doctor simply tells you that you have a rotator cuff tear, this is not very specific. As a Chiropractor we would want to know more information in order to direct your recovery from the tear. We would want to know what muscle(s) the tear is in, and what kind of tear it is. In the clinic we can use orthopaedic testing to determine what muscle(s) your tear is in.