A torn rotator cuff often manifests as a dull ache in the shoulder, explains Mayo Clinic. This pain can often worsen when the person sleeps on the affected side.
When someone tears his rotator cuff, it means he has torn one of the tendons in his shoulder. This can happen in two ways: The rotator cuff can be torn slowly over a long period of time or as the result of a single traumatic injury, says Mayo Clinic.
Slow tears most commonly occur in people who perform repeated overhead motions, either for work or in sports; Jobs that carry this risk include painters and carpenters. Sports people commonly affected by torn rotator cuffs include baseball and tennis players, explains Mayo Clinic.
In the case of a slow tear, it typically begins as a dull ache that grows over time and is especially acute when performing overhead actions. This type of tear can usually be treated with physical therapy, states Mayo Clinic. In the event of a single traumatic injury causing the tear, the pain is far more severe and acute. Furthermore, mobility may be lost in the affected limb. When this occurs, medical care should be sought as soon as possible. At this point, physical therapy is typically insufficient and surgery may be required.