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Rotator Cuff Injuries: What they are and How to Treat them

Shoulder pain can often be attributed to conditions affecting the rotator cuff, the group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint and keep the shoulder and arm in proper alignment. Rotator cuff injuries generally come in two distinct categories; tendinitis, which involves inflammation of one or more of the shoulder tendons, and impingement, which occurs when the rotator cuff is pinched between the arm and shoulder bones.

Causes of Rotator Cuff Injuries

The most common reason for these types of rotator cuff injuries is repetitive, overhead motion. This can put strain on the muscles and lead to inflammation and damage to one or more of the shoulder tendons. Other possible causes of rotator cuff injuries include:

  • Falls, particularly when the arm is used to break the fall
  • Lifting or pulling heavy objects over your head
  • The development of a bone spur on the shoulder blade

Sometimes, rotator cuff injuries do not appear to have a cause. This is particularly true for older adults who may simply experience damage to the rotator cuff through normal wear and tear over the years.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injuries

The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury might include:

  • Dull ache, which is present both during activity and when at rest
  • Pain that radiates from the shoulder down the arm
  • Weakness in the shoulder and arm
  • Reduced motion in the shoulder

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries

There are many methods for addressing rotator cuff injuries, from medications to surgery. Most patients find that performing a few therapeutic exercises daily can also help to relieve discomfort and improve range of motion in the shoulder. At In Motion O.C., we recommend the following general exercises for addressing rotator cuff injuries:

  • Door stretch
  • IYTs
  • Posterior capsule stretch
  • Sleeper stretch
  • Towel stretch
  • Scaps squeezes
  • Isometric internal external rotation on the wall

All of these exercises are demonstrated by In Motion staff on our video on YouTube. To learn more about rotator cuff injuries and treatment contact In Motion at 949-861-8600.

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