Most people associate rotator cuff injuries with Major League pitchers. However, the truth is many people are in danger of sustaining injuries to this part of the body. Anyone who has a job that involves repetitive overhead movements may be at risk of developing rotator cuff tendonitis. This injury can cause pain and inflammation and can prevent people from doing simple tasks.
The rotator cuff is made up of four small muscles found on the scapula and the top of the humerus. The shoulder joint is inherently flexible but unstable. Therefore the job of the muscles that comprise the rotator cuff is to stabilize the “ball in socket” shoulder joint. When these muscles become fatigued due to overuse, they can become impinged between the bones in the shoulder and back and become inflamed. This inflammation can lead to inflammation of the tendons as well.
The symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis consist of a deep, aching pain in the shoulder as well as limited mobility. It may be difficult to sleep on the affected shoulder and the pain is likely to increase when attempting any kind of overhead movement such as throwing a baseball, swinging a tennis racket or even changing a light bulb. The pain caused by tendonitis tends to make people wary of using the muscles at all. However, completely eliminating the use of the rotator cuff muscles will only serve to further weaken and tighten the muscles.
If you believe you feel the onset of a rotator cuff injury you should consult a doctor because early intervention is the most effective way to limit the effects this injury. Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and advise you to briefly eliminate the activities that cause pain to the affected area. If the pain persists, your doctor can prescribe physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve mobility. In severe cases, a steroidal injection may be administered to decrease inflammation in the tendons. The longer the injury persists the more difficult it can be to treat so if you are experiencing pain in the rotator cuff do not hesitate to see your doctor.