Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Rotator cuff tendinitis develops when the tendons and muscles which support the shoulder joint get inflamed. It is very commonly seen in individuals who play sports that require repeatedly extending the arm over the head.

Most people regain complete function of the shoulder joint without any pain after the treatment. Recurrences are common though.

Symptoms And Causes Of Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Symptoms and clinical features include:

  • Swelling, discomfort and pain in the front of the shoulder and the arm.
  • The pain gets aggravated when you raise or lower your arm.
  • You can notice a clicking sound when you raise your arm.
  • Stiffness in the joint.
  • Reduced mobility of the shoulder joint.

Causes Of Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

  • The condition tends to develop and worsen over time. It usually occurs if you keep your shoulder in one position for a long time; you sleep on the same shoulder every night; or take part in activities which need extending the arm over the head.
  • Athletes who play sports that require extending the arm over the head very commonly develop this condition.
    It is seen in swimmers, pitchers and tennis players.
  • Occasionally, rotator cuff tendinitis occurs without any known cause.

Treatment Options For Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Initial treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis comprises of dealing with the pain and swelling and to encourage prompt healing. You need to steer clear of all those activities which set off pain.

  • Apply cold packs to your shoulder 2 to 3 times a day; that will assuage the welling appreciably. Talk to your health care provider and take NSAIDs to manage the pain and inflammation.
  • Your doctor will recommend a physical therapist too. Physical therapy stretches and strengthens the muscles around the affected joint and helps reinstate the range of motion as well as helps allay the pain.
  • Ginger is a very effective home remedy for inflammation of the shoulder joint. Have a glass of ginger tea twice daily for promising results. The herb is packed with a compound called gingerols which are potent anti-inflammatory agents. They battle inflammation; and consequently swelling and pain.
  • Make sure that you use a good posture whilst sitting.
  • Do not lift your arms repeatedly over your head.
  • Avoid sleeping on the same side every night.
  • Do not carry a bag on only one shoulder.
  • Massage is another very effective therapy to manage the swelling and pain in the shoulder joint. However, do ensure that you visit a licensed masseur; book yourself for 8 to 10 sessions. Massage proffers wonderful benefits; it will reduce the discomfort and swelling. You could also incorporate aromatherapy with massage therapy; it provides immense help. Essential oils that give relief are – ginger essential oil, clove essential oil, nutmeg essential oil and lavender essential oil.
  • In case the condition cannot be managed by conservative methods, your doctor may advocate a steroidal injection. It is injected in to the tendon to decrease the swelling, inflammation and pain.
  • If non-surgical treatments fail, your health care provider may advise surgical intervention. Most people experience complete recovery after having a rotator cuff surgery. Confer with your health care provider / surgeon and understand which surgery is advisable for you.