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Your Rotator Cuff Could Be Causing Shoulder Pain

Rotator Cuff

Shoulder Pain can be debilitating and lead to limited participation in sports, cooking, cleaning, yard work, and even sleep. It can make you weak, frustrated, and affect your ability to focus on the things important to you. There can be many culprits for shoulder pain which require a thorough Physical Therapy assessment to diagnose. One of the most common diagnoses we come across are rotator cuff injuries. We are here for you at Pipeline Physical Therapy to help answer some important questions and provide individualized care to set you on the right path to recovery.


What is the rotator cuff?

Mislabeled many different names, from rotary cup to Altoids (yes, this happened once), by patients when they first come to see us, the rotator cuff is a set of 4 muscles that begin on the shoulder blade and attach to the upper arm, aka humerus. They are comprised of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor. See the picture above.


What does the rotator cuff do?

Each of the muscles of the rotator cuff perform different actions at the shoulder. They work together to help fine tune movements of the arm in all directions, while compressing the humerus into the shoulder joint and creating stability.


What happens when there’s an injury to the rotator cuff?

There are different types of injuries that can affect these important muscles including tendinitis, strains, and tears. Each type of injury may affect the shoulder in different ways from weakness, limited range of motion, to debilitating pain. The extent of the injury and which muscle is involved will dictate the specific limitations. Ultimately, injury to the rotator cuff can cause altered mechanics of the shoulder and neck leading to disability.


Common signs of a rotator cuff injury include:


When to see a Physical Therapist:

If you display any of these symptoms, a physical therapist should be your first stop, and the earlier, the better. Physical Therapy can reduce the need for surgery at a fraction of the cost. Doctors of Physical Therapy are experts in correcting movement patterns and use a number of advanced techniques in helping the healing process and returning the body to full strength and mobility. We use in-depth, individualized, skilled assessments to determine diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment protocols to fit your personal needs.


If you are experiencing shoulder pain, click here to contact us today to schedule your initial visit!


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