Are You Dealing With Shoulder Pain?

Watch this video on how shoulder injuries form.

What Is Causing My Shoulder Pain?

The rotator cuff describes a section of four muscles in the back of your shoulder that act to stabilize the shoulder capsule

Strains and injuries in the rotator cuff are typically the most common cause of people experiencing shoulder problems, accounting for 4.5 million doctor visits per year. These rotator cuff injuries often occur due to improper movement patterns or excessive shoulder movements in the same direction repeatedly.

When the rotator cuff muscles are continually improperly used, it causes wear and tear that can turn into tendonitis. Tendonitis can cause injury that disrupts weightlifting, sports, or daily activities.  

What Are The Causes Of Rotator Cuff Injuries?

Less than 10% of rotator cuff tears are the direct result of an acute injury like falling, pushing, pulling, throwing or lifting.

The overwhelming majority of injuries are caused by repetitive strains over a long period of time. One of the most common reasons that people start to develop a rotator cuff tear is something called "impingement". Impingement essentially means that the section where your rotator cuff tendon lives have simply become too crowded and the rotator cuff tendon is being pinched each time you raise your arm.

People who perform repeated overhead activities are usually at the greatest risk for impingement and rotator cuff tendon problems. This usually includes athletes who play baseball, volleyball, tennis, rowing, weight lifting, swimming and archery, and jobs that include carpentry, painting, wallpaper hanging, cleaning windows and washing/waxing cars.

What Are The Symptoms Of Rotator Cuff Injuries?

Patients who suffer from rotator cuff pain typically experience pain with overhead or forward lifting of the shoulder.

The rotator cuff becomes irritated in these motions because the muscles are being overstrained every time we move our shoulder in those directions.  Most chronic strains start silently with symptoms slowly becoming more evident as the tear progresses. Pain is usually found in the front and outside of your shoulder but can also sometimes radiate down your arm.

Symptoms are usually aggravated by overhead activity and may progress to the point that you have difficulty raising your arm overhead. Pain is typically made worse at night, especially when you lie on the impacted area of your shoulder. Be sure to tell us if you suffer from significant neck pain, shortness of breath, chest pain or chest pressure.

How Can You Reduce Rotator Cuff Pain?

Young patients who have suffered an acute tear or rupture in many cases will require surgery, while most others will benefit from conservative treatments, such as the ones we provide.

Be sure to avoid painful overhead activity or carrying heavy objects.

Try not to sleep on your irritated side, especially with your arm outstretched overhead. You may benefit by sleeping on your side that has not been impacted with a pillow between your arm and trunk. Smokers should do their best to quit and find a program to help them do so. Overweight patients will recover quicker if they begin a diet and exercise program. Performing your home exercises is especially important.

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