What is a Rotator Cuff?

shoulder injury rotator cuff

Many folks with shoulder pain have been told that they have a “rotator cuff” injury, but really have no idea what that is!  This type of injury refers to a group of muscles around the shoulder joint.  The shoulder joint has a very large amount of mobility but not a lot of stability.  These muscles provide support to the joint and stabilize the shoulder while we do activities with our hands. They also help to move the whole arm through large movements, such as reaching overhead.  When there is an injury to a rotator cuff muscle or tendon, the large movements can be painful, as can any lifting or pushing with that arm.  Even simple activities such as just holding the arm still while typing can cause pain.

What causes injuries to the rotator cuff?

You don’t have to be a high level athlete to experience this type of problem.  Any repeated large arm movements over years can contribute to wear and tear on the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles.  Injuries can occur with sudden forceful actions of the shoulder.  Habitual slumped postures can also be a contributing factor The rounded position of slumped shoulders eventually results in unbalanced activity of the rotator cuff muscles and pressure on their tendons.  Weakness or poor activation of those muscles will ultimately also impact the proper movement of the arm, potentially causing pain.

How can physiotherapy help?

All physiotherapy interventions start with a thorough assessment and a discussion of your goals for treatment.  The physiotherapist will create a treatment plan based on that assessment and your goals.  The treatment plan will include education to help you understand the specific causes of your shoulder pain.  It will also include any or all of:  posture correction, specific targeted exercises, pain relieving treatments such as manual therapy, electrical stimulation or acupuncture, and tissue healing treatments such as Ultrasound or LASER.

At Best Health Physiotherapy, our therapists bring years of experience to the assessment and treatment of rotator cuff injuries, as well as expertise in all treatment tools that can facilitate you getting back to pain free living!