You’ve tried to carry those heavy grocery bags all at once from your car to the house too many times. At night, you lay on that same shoulder to avoid a loudly snoring spouse in your face. You kept using those heavy weights during your workout even though you weren’t yet ready for them. Now, you are paying dearly with an aggravating pain in your shoulder and arm. It is likely you may have developed Rotator Cuff Tendinitis.
What is Rotator Cuff Tendinitis?
Your shoulder is made up of several components which make this body part quite susceptible to injuries caused by repeated daily use. This makes rotator cuff tendinitis, also called impingement syndrome, one of the most common shoulder ailments suffered by many. It is typically gradual and generally appears after age 40. However, young athletes can also experience this problem due to repetitive lifting of their arms over their head. Hence, it is also known as swimmer’s shoulder, pitcher’s shoulder or tennis shoulder. Sometimes, there is no known cause but the pain will simply appear over time from repeated daily wear and tear. This website can help you gain more information about this condition and how to relieve it.
There are numerous symptoms related to rotator cuff tendinitis. If not addressed, these symptoms can worsen over time. Complaints include the following as listed on Healthline.com:
- Swelling and pain in front of the shoulder and side of the arm
- Pain is activated when your arm is raised or lowered
- Pain wakes you up at night
- Stiffness and mobility loss
- Reaching behind your back causes pain especially when buttoning or zippering
- Clicking sound when arm is raised or lowered
What Different Treatments are Available?
When you visit your doctor, he or she will examine you to see where the pain is located. You will also be asked to perform certain arm movements to determine your mobility. Additionally, he or she will test your shoulder strength by having you press against their hand. To rule out any other conditions, they may also examine your neck and an X-ray, MRI, or other imaging tests will be ordered to check for evidence of abnormalities or tearing.
The first initial treatment is to manage pain and swelling so that healing can take place. This usually involves avoiding activities which aggravate the pain, applying cold packs to the shoulder, and NSAID pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Your doctor may also prescribe physical therapy to help regain your strength and range of motion.
If, after these treatments, your shoulder does not improve, your doctor may then recommend a steroid injection into your tendon to reduce inflammation and pain. If there is still no relief, the next step is surgery. Surgery is decided only after all other treatments have been attempted without success.
The most common surgery for rotator cuff tendinitis is arthroscopy. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and involves three incisions around the shoulder. The surgeon inserts a small camera to locate and view any bone spurs or damaged tissue and uses special tiny instruments to remove or repair any abnormalities. After the surgery, most people make a full recovery. During recovery, rest is required as well as physical therapy to restore strength and range of motion. For more information about this type of surgery, visit the OrthoInfo site from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Recovery is an Ongoing Process
After recovery, there are steps you should take to prevent the problem from reoccurring. These involve good posture when sitting, avoiding repetitive arm raising over your head, shoulder stretching throughout the day, and breaks from repeated activities, among others. In general, always take good care of yourself and avoid any movements or positions that could cause injury or disability. Your body and shoulders will thank you in the long run.