Shoulder Impingement and Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

The most common cause of shoulder pain is called subacromial impingment.  Oftentimes one notices it during overhead activities such as throwing and sometimes even the pain can even occur at night.  Your doctor may do a number of physical exam maneuvers involving you arms and shoulders during your evaluation to help pinpoint exactly what the cause of your pain is.  The first step in managing this condition is physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff.  You may also be put on a trial of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or in some cases an injection of medicine into the actual joint can help the pain.  If none of this helps after 4-6 months your doctor may talk to you about a procedure to help with the pain. 

Rotator cuff tendonitis:

Rotator cuff tendonitis is inflammation in the tendons of the rotator cuff in the shoulder.  The rotator cuff are a group of 4 smaller, stabilizing muscles, that surround the shoulder and help stabilize in overhead activities.  If someone overuses their shoulder, say throwing, then he/she can develop pain at and about the rotator cuff.  The best thing someone with rotator cuff tendonitis can do is oftentimes the hardest-REST IT.  Rest, along with ice and anti-inflammatory medicine can oftentimes cause the symptoms to be relieved.  However if someone continues to use the shoulder with rotator cuff tendonitis, he/she’s risk of continued pain or worse, a tear, is increased.

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