Rotator Cuff Pain

Rotator Cuff Pain and Rotator Cuff Injuries are the result of discomfort or trauma felt within the muscles that make up the rotator cuff of the shoulder. Rotator Cuff Pain can be felt as pain in the front or back of the affected shoulder, as well as down the arm and in the neck, in some cases. This is because the muscles that control the movement of the shoulder and the position of the shoulderblade all occupy a small area within the shoulder joint, and work very closely together. The muscles of the Rotator Cuff are found on the side and back of the shoulder, but many muscles support the stability and function of the shoulder joint, and all can be implicated or affected in rotator cuff pain.


Rotator Cuff Pain is most commonly caused by over-use of the shoulder, by injury, or by age-related changes to the joints of the shoulder, neck and collarbone. The shoulder joint consists of numerous muscles all working together to articulate the shoulderblade and stabilise the arm so that we can complete tasks requiring dexterity, finesse, and power. We write, work, exercise and play with our arms and our hands because they are designed to produce a nearly infinite combination of movements to help us interact with the world. During the course of this interaction, we may over-exert ourselves and cause ourselves injury, or we may cause irritation of the muscles, joints, and ligaments within the rotator cuff as a result of our doing the same movements over and over again without taking time to relax and soothe those working parts. 


Rotator Cuff Pain can be localised to different parts of the shoulder, the upper arm, the chest, and can also be distinguished by how long the pain has been present as well as if the neck is affected. An episode of Rotator Cuff Pain that lasts for less than six weeks is called Acute Pain. Pain that lasts longer than six weeks but less than twelve is called Sub-Acute Pain, and pain that lasts longer than twelve weeks is called Chronic Pain.


Management of Rotator Cuff Injuries is a process that involves addressing physical, occupational, personal, and lifestyle risk factors to minimise pain and maximise function. The treatment you receive will be tailored to address the specific cause of your discomfort, and will focus on minimising pain, maximising your ability to move pain free, and developing a plan to minimise the risk of a flare-up in the future. Management of Rotator Cuff Injuries is sometimes tricky because we need to use our hands and arms to live our lives comfortably. This is especially important when our dominant arm becomes injured. Managing the Rotator Cuff is done by balancing rehabilitation and repair while still continuing to use our hands to work and life. 


At Atlas Physio, we will provide you with education, structured management, and ongoing monitoring of your pain both in and out of the clinic. Contact us to arrange an assessment, and to take the first step on a course of corrective care today.