A rotator cuff is a group of muscles that both support and stabilize the shoulder joint. The teres minor, subscapularis, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus muscles and their tendons make up the rotator cuff. These muscles allow the shoulder joint to move in almost every direction possible without being injured or damaged. The tendons attach firmly to the head of the humerus and help to hold it securely in place as the person moves or performs various activities. The rotator cuff can be damaged due to constant, repetitive motion injuries or injuries that involved the arm being moved into unnatural positions or extended too far past normal boundaries.
Shoulder pain is often treated by immobilizing the shoulder and applying ice. Anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers may also be used to help relieve the pain and discomfort. Stabilizing the joint to prevent overuse is also important during the recovery period. With many injuries that involve strain to the muscles or the tendons, allowing the joint to rest may be what is needed for the healing to be complete. Injuries that involve tearing of the rotator cuff or the dislocation of the humerus from the shoulder socket may require physical therapy or in severe cases, surgery. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation exercises are also beneficial.
The difference between chronic and acute pain is found in each one's characteristics. Chronic pain is long-term pain that ranges from mild to severe. For a person's pain to be considered chronic, the pain must have been present to some degree for at least six months or longer. Pain that comes and goes is not necessarily considered to be chronic unless it is only the severity that fluctuates. Acute pain is normally felt immediately after an injury occurs. It is intense for a short period of time but will gradually begin to subside as the shock of the injury wears off. Acute normally only lasts for a few hours and will be completely gone long before the injury finally heals.
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