Rotator Cuff Related Shoulder Pain / Impingement

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles within the shoulder that provide stability and control in the shoulder joint. They attach from around the shoulder blade in the upper back, through the shoulder and to the upper part of your arm. Problems with their function can often causing pain in the shoulder itself and the upper arm above the elbow. The rotator cuffs role is to control movements of the shoulder joint whilst you are doing daily activities such as raising your arms upwards, carrying or lifting. Pain due to the rotator cuff tendons and muscles is referred to as rotator cuff related shoulder pain”, “impingement or “shoulder dysfunction

Rotator cuff pain often presents after you have overused the shoulder and worked the rotator cuff muscles above and over their usual capacity or stamina, causing the tendons of the muscles to become sore and painful. This can occur due to overuse or can occur due to normal age related degenerative (wear and tear) changes of the tendon. Overuse can include tasks such as decorating, doing more gardening or DIY than usual, swimming etc. Tears in the shoulder tendons can occur after an accident or injury such as a fall or occur gradually with wear and tear. Interestingly however, not all tears in tendons will be painful at all. 

When one or more of the rotator cuff tendons become painful and sore,  this causes the shoulders usual ability to stabilise and control the joint to be less efficient, and pain may be experienced when reaching up above shoulder height, reaching behind your back or out to the side. When the shoulder tendons become sore they often become thickened and may cause pressure on other structure in the shoulder, including the bursa, which is a fluid filled sac that acts as a cushion to stop tendons rubbing against bones. Irritation and inflammation of the bursa is referred to as bursitis 

Rotator cuff pain is the most common cause of shoulder pain and thankfully responds well to exercises which aim to strengthen and load the muscles, reduce irritation and decrease then pain whilst restoring function. Adequate pain relief is also essential such as Paracetamol. You should consult with your pharmacist before taking any new medications.  It is also advisable to reduce and if possible, modify any activities that may increase your shoulder pain and discomfort. 


Bell Ringer Exercise Videos

If you are struggling to move your shoulder due to pain and have a reduced range of movement and function, please CLICK HERE TO VIEW range of movement exercises (bell ringers) or watch the videos below.

Bell ringer exercises for your shoulder part 1

Bell ringer exercises for your shoulder part 2

Symptom modification exercises

If you’re able to move the shoulder, but this is extremely painful please see the symptom modification exercises on the right side of this screen. 

View the exercise videos below

Or click here to view the full playlist on youtube

Shoulder Strengthening Exercise Videos

If your shoulder movement is good but the main problem is discomfort, please see the shoulder loading exercises on the right side of this screen. You will see a booklet with an array of exercises in that you can mix and match to suit your needs and abilities.

Or click here to view the full playlist on youtube