Missouri Workers Compensation and Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery
Shoulder injuries are common occurrences in the workplace, especially with the rotator cuff.
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that come together at the shoulder joint so that you are able of rotate your arms and lift them with ease. A tear to this muscle group will cause extreme pain to the shoulder, upper back and arm, as well as restrict your arm movements. Rotator cuff tear surgery is a method employed to help repair the injury and restore mobility.
Shoulder injuries are common occurrences in the workplace, especially with the rotator cuff. There are a number of less invasive treatments available to repair this type of injury, but if those are not successful, you should be given the option of rotator cuff tear surgery. If you are still feeling stiffness and difficulty in moving the arm, but have been declared to have reached maximum medical improvement by your physician, fight for your right for a full recovery. James M. Hoffmann can show you how to request a second opinion and receive your workers’ compensation for rotator cuff surgery and the recovery period following it.
The Anatomy of the Rotator Cuff
The shoulder is made up of three separate bones; the upper arm, collar bone and shoulder blade. Being a ball and socket joint, the head of the upper arm fits into the shallow socket at the end of the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff is what holds the arm in place inside of the socket. Four muscles form tendons around the top of the arm bone and then attaches to the shoulder blade to give it the mobility needed.
If one or more of those muscles tear, the tendon is no longer fully attached to the upper arm. As a result, movements become limited and in some cases extremely painful. This type of injury can result from lifting something out of your weight range or falling on an outstretched arm, but in most work-related cases it is an overuse injury that starts with a slight fraying of the muscles, progressing until it is completely torn. Warehouse workers and construction engineers are susceptible to this type of injury due to the constant lifting of heavy objects.
Symptoms You May Feel From a Rotator Cuff Tear
A rotator cuff tear will present itself to you in a number of different ways. These symptoms may include:
- pain when resting the arm, especially if you lie down on the side of the affected shoulder
- sharp pain when lowering or raising your arm
- weakness in the arm
- a crackling sensation when you move your shoulder in certain positions
These sensations are the result of a tear that has developed slowly from overuse of the shoulder. With a sudden tear from a workplace accident, you will feel a snapping sensation, immediate weakness in the upper arm and intense pain.
Diagnosing a Rotator Cuff Tear
It is important to seek medical treatment for shoulder pain as soon as it becomes obvious. Masking the pain with over the counter medications will only allow a rotator cuff tear to worsen, causing you more problems with the joint over time. A doctor will check the range of motion of your shoulder in various directions, and then order an MRI test to determine where the tear is and its severity.
Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery
If non surgical methods of repairing a torn rotator cuff prove unsuccessful, your doctor will likely recommend surgical intervention. This is typically a non-invasive surgery that will repair the muscle and restore mobility. Afterwards, your arm will be immobilized for up to six weeks in order to allow the tendon to heal properly. Once healed, you will likely begin therapy to help improve the range of motion and strengthen the arm.
Work Comp Benefits and Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery
Injuries from workplace accidents are not the only type of injury covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. If your rotator cuff tear resulted from overuse from the scope of your occupation, you employer is responsible for all of the medical costs that accrue during the course of treatment, including rotator cuff tear surgery if necessary. In addition, they should pay you a percentage of your salary until you are able to return to work.