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What causes workplace rotator cuff injuries?

As you sit there, raise your arms over your head. If you cannot, you’re not alone. Many Americans cannot perform this seemingly simple task without pain in the shoulder area. A common injury in some younger athletes and people over 40, the rotator cuff can be painfully debilitating.  The rotator cuff is a set of muscles and tendons that allows the mobility of your shoulder.

At its best, the rotator cuff enables you to fully rotate and raise your shoulder. Unfortunately, many people cannot do this, and you may be among them. People who work jobs that frequently involve raising your arms over your head to perform repetitive motions are particularly susceptible.

Who is most affected?

Many construction, painting and carpentry tasks can damage the rotator cuff.  However, any profession that requires you to perform work with your arms above your head or otherwise away from your body can damage your rotator cuff.

While it’s unlikely for you to never work with arms above your head in professions like these, performing a variety of tasks and taking rests may ease the burden on your shoulders. Performing strengthening and stretching exercises on all parts of the shoulder can help fortify the area against injury.

What you can do about it

Rotator cuff injuries appear in many forms, according to Mayo Clinic. It may appear as a dull ache in your shoulder area or maybe you’ve begun favoring another arm to do things like brush your teeth because it’s less painful. You may even realize that you have a weakness in one arm. All of these are potential reasons to visit a doctor.

If your rotator cuff injury is preventing your from doing your job, filing a workers’ compensation claim can help make up for missed work and pay for medical bills. You must act urgently, however, because Pennsylvania allows just three years for you to file a workers’ compensation claim to help you on the road to recovery.