Chances are, you’ve probably at least heard of the rotator cuff—especially if you watch sports like football and baseball regularly. But are you aware of just how important it is? The rotator cuff is actually a group of muscles and tendons that attach to bones of the shoulder joint, and it is essential for allowing the shoulder to move and keeping it stable. Due to its vital role, the rotator cuff is also a frequent site of injury, and high on that list is rotator cuff tendinitis, a common source of shoulder pain in New York City.
Rotator cuff tendinitis usually occurs gradually over time and can result from something as simple as moving the shoulder into the same position repeatedly, or from sports and activities that consist of over-the-head motions like baseball, tennis, swimming or even painting. Over time, these repetitive shoulder motions lead to inflammation and irritation of the tendons, which will eventually cause pain when performing these motions.
The main symptoms of rotator cuff tendinitis are pain and swelling in the front of the shoulder and side of the arm, usually while raising or lowering the arm. Loss of mobility and strength, stiffness, and at times a “clicking” sensation may also occur. If you happen to notice any of these symptoms and are concerned, the only way to determine if rotator cuff tendinitis is present is through a complete examination by a physical therapist.
Fortunately, most cases of rotator cuff tendinitis are reversible and can be managed very successfully with conservative, or non-surgical treatment, which should include a course of physical therapy. At Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy, we typically recommend the following for this common cause of shoulder pain in New York City:
Typical recommendations for shoulder pain in New York City from rotator cuff tendinitis
- Rest/activity modification: rest your shoulder and avoid any activities that can cause pain or discomfort, especially those that require lifting your arm
- Ice: apply ice to your shoulder for 20-30 min. every 3-4 hours for a few days
- Heat: after about 2-3 days, start applying heat to your shoulder by soaking a hot towel in water, ringing it out and holding it to your shoulder while swinging your arm back and forth like a pendulum; repeat 2-3 times a day
- Posture/positioning: practice good posture, especially if you spend most of the day sitting; don’t sleep on the same side of your body every night; if you carry a heavy bag, switch the shoulder you carry it on regularly
- Physical therapy: if pain continues after following these guidelines, you should come in to see us for a personalized treatment program; in addition to offering additional pain-relieving interventions, we will also prescribe several exercises to strengthen your shoulder and increase its flexibility, which may include:
- External rotation
- Internal rotation
- Forward flexion shoulder raise
- Pendulum exercises
- Scapular squeezes
- “Full can” exercise
Shoulder pain in New York City caused by rotator cuff tendinitis can be a major hindrance on your everyday activities, especially if you’re an active athlete. If this pain is bogging you down and you need relief from it, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy is your ticket to effectively address the problem. Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment for any pain you may be experiencing, or click here for more information on rotator cuff tendinitis.