When you think about joint problems, your mind probably goes to hips or knees. But there’s another critical joint in your body that can face issues over time: your shoulders. Nearly two million Americans seek medical care for problems with the rotator cuff (the muscles and tendons that attach to and support the shoulder) each year.
At Northern Virginia Orthopaedic Specialists, we’re committed to not only treating shoulder pain, but also to helping people avoid it. Any of our doctors, including Megan Friend, MD, Christopher Highfill, MD, William Hosick, MD, John Kim, MD, and Kevin Peltier, MD, will work with you if you’re experiencing shoulder discomfort to help you address the cause and protect the health of this important joint.
In addition, we want to provide you with some changes you can make on your own to help yourself avoid shoulder problems — and the potential for rotator cuff surgery that can come with them.
Here are our top tips for preventing rotator cuff problems.
#1: Don’t ignore shoulder pain
If your shoulder’s hurting, pay attention. Rotator cuff problems often stem from simple overuse, so recurring aches and pains aren’t something to ignore. Make an appointment with our team so we can figure out what’s causing your shoulder pain and help you address it. We offer rehabilitation to help stabilize and strengthen your rotator cuff, for example.
#2: Give it a rest
Similarly, if your shoulder is bugging you, don’t just press through. Discomfort is a sign that something isn’t right in your shoulder and pressing through will most likely only aggravate the issue. Give your shoulder at least a few days of rest any time you feel shoulder pain as you use it.
#3: Stretch and strengthen your shoulder
Your shoulder joint provides you a huge range of motion. It’s important that the muscles in your rotator cuff are up to the task of supporting that joint as it moves. Regularly exercising and stretching your shoulder can help you keep the area strong and stable.
#4: Avoid nicotine
One of the biggest risk factors in rotator cuff tears might not be readily apparent: smoking cigarettes. If you smoke, cut back and work toward quitting. When you do, you don’t just protect your overall health. You also protect your shoulders.
#5: Keep an eye on your cholesterol levels
Similarly, studies have linked high cholesterol with rotator cuff problems. Work to keep your cholesterol levels in check to protect your shoulder through the years.
Don’t ignore shoulder pain. Getting proactive treatment can make the difference, helping you avoid rotator cuff surgery. To talk with an orthopaedic specialist about your shoulder, call one of our offices in Manassas or Haymarket, Virginia, or schedule an appointment online today.