A rotator cuff tear is a common cause for shoulder pain. It can be the result of trauma due to a fall or an object striking your shoulder. Another cause is simply wear and tear over the years producing degenerative changes in the tendon. This is seen mainly in those over 40 years of age. Using the shoulder in certain occupations in a repetitive way can cause overuse tears. Examples are those occupations involved in performing repeated lifting and overhead activities such as construction workers, carpenters, painters and tennis players.
PAIN AND LOSS OF SHOULDER STRENGTH
Regardless of the cause, the main limiting factor is loss of strength in the shoulder and pain with lifting and overhead activities. The diagnosis is confirmed by MRI studies of the shoulder.
THE ONE YEAR RULE
Social security defines disability as in inability to perform signifiicant gainful activity(work). They also state that your impairment must last at least 12 months. It is important to understand this fact since at the beginning of your impairement you may be quite disabled regarding ability to lift and raise your arm, but by 12 months you may have improved considerably with treatment and therefore be denied benefits.
SHOULDER RESTRICTIONS DUE TO PAIN AND WEAKNESS
The state wishes to know in specific terms how many pounds you can lift and carry over an 8 hour day and how far you can raise your arm, that is, are you limited to raising it only to desk level, up the the shoulder or can you raise it over your shoulder. Regarding lifting and carrying, are you limited to lifting and carrying 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently or can you lift up to 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently.
AGE AND PAST OCCUPATIONS
The decision as to whether you are allowed or denied benefits is made by individuals at the state disability office. They will make their decision after reviewing your entire medical record. The decision is somewhat complicated depending on your age and past occupations.