Rotator Cuff Injury (Tendinopathy)

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

One of the most common complaints we see in the clinic is pain in the shoulder. The shoulder is a complex structure composed of multiple joints, tendons and muscles. This is to provide you with an increased range of movement in the arm but also makes the shoulder particularly vulnerable to injury. Rotator cuff pain is one of the more frequent sources of pain in the shoulder.

Typically people with a rotator cuff injury will have difficulty and pain lifting their arm above their head, placing their arm behind their back (for example putting on a coat, or reaching for a bra strap), and sleeping on the affected side.

Rotator cuff injury is often known as supraspinatus tendinopathy, because it commonly affects the supraspinatus muscle. However, rotator cuff injury can apply to any of the rotator cuff muscles.

Rotator Cuff Risk Factors

• Individuals who use their arms a great deal for overhead movements are particularly vulnerable to injuring the rotator cuff.

• This is a common problem experienced by golfers and weightlifters.

• Pain can often develop from a minor injury, but there are instances where it occurs without any obvious cause.

• Repetitive lifting activities involving the arm, such as construction, painting and hanging paper leave you prone to injuries in the rotator cuff.

• If you start experiencing pain when serving a tennis ball or throwing a ball, you might be in the early stages of tendinopathy.

• Pain that is present when engaging in the activity and resting could be a sign of rotator cuff tendinopathy

 Shoulder Anatomy 

The shoulder is made up of three bones: the Humerus, the Clavicle (Collar Bone) and the Scapula (Shoulder Blade). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint; The ball of the upper arm fits securely into a shallow socket within the Scapula. The rotator cuff muscles keep your arm securely in this socket.


The rotator cuff is composed of four different muscles that join together as tendons and form a covering surrounding the head of the humerus, connecting the humerus to the scapula and aids in rotating and lifting your arm.

Rotator Cuff Treatment

  • Rehab One of the first things your GP or Chiropractor will probably suggest is rest from any aggravating activities, such as avoiding doing any type of overhead activity or sports which may be causing the problem. Golf and racket sports are commonly problematic sports.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication such as Ibuprofen can help to reduce swelling and pain in the affected area. However, if after two weeks you have not had improvement from NSAIDs you should consult your GP or Chiropractor.

  • Manual Therapy Your Chiropractor or therapist will initially focus their attention on restoring normal movement to the shoulder. Using a combination of Chiropractic adjustment, massage and stretching exercises for improving range of movement. As the pain improves, a strengthening program will help strengthen your rotator cuff muscles and prevent further injury

Sherborne Chiropractic Clinic

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