Shoulder disease that can be confused with frozen shoulder, rotator cuff tear

The part of our body that has the widest range of motion is the shoulder. Many people tend to delay treatment by thinking of a frozen shoulder when shoulder pain starts to occur. However, typical diseases that cause shoulder pain include frozen shoulder, rotator cuff tear, and calcific tendinitis.

The rotator cuff refers to the four muscles surrounding the shoulder joint: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor, which play a role in maintaining rotational movement and safety of the shoulder joint. One or more of the four muscles of the rotator cuff is damaged or ruptured, causing pain.

Most of the causes of rotator cuff tears are degeneration of the rotator cuff tendons due to aging or deformation due to poor blood circulation. In the past, the onset was caused by degenerative changes, and it was often seen in the age group over 50, but these days, as sports activities have become more active, ruptures due to trauma are occurring. In particular, a lot of rotator cuff tears occur among athletes who have no choice but to use the shoulder joint excessively.

When a rotator cuff tear occurs, you often feel pain in the shoulder, stiff shoulder, and a creak in the shoulder joint. It is relieved, but because of this phenomenon, many people think it is a mild muscle pain and leave it unattended.

Many people mistake a rotator cuff tear for a frozen shoulder, and a big difference can be found between the two diseases depending on whether active or passive movement is possible. Active movement refers to movement by the patient on their own, and passive movement refers to movement with the help of an assistant. While rotator cuff tears can only do passive movements, the frozen shoulder has restrictions on both active and passive, so it is better to compare your current condition and receive appropriate treatment.

Director Jeon Byung-ho of Gimpo Gaya Sei Hospital said, “If shoulder pain is mild, it can be expected to improve through non-surgical treatments such as drug therapy, injection therapy, and physical therapy. A surgical treatment called rotator cuff repair will be considered.”

He added, “The rotator cuff repair using arthroscopy can also be applied to the elderly or chronically ill patients.”

In order to prevent a rotator cuff tear, you should refrain from using the shoulder as much as possible on a regular basis, and it is good to loosen the tight muscles sufficiently through stretching before starting exercise. In addition, it is good to develop a habit of maintaining a good posture and perform exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles.

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