With Physiotherapist Chris Davies
The rotator cuff is a group of 4 small muscles which originate from the shoulder blade, and come together as a group of tendons which form a “cuff” over the top of the arm bone at the shoulder joint. As the shoulder is a very mobile joint, the role of the rotator cuff is to provide stability and movement control for the joint.
Rotator cuff disorders occupy a large proportion of shoulder related pain. One of the most common forms of shoulder pain is Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy. Tendinopaythy is a term whereby a tendon undergoes a cellular and chemical change as a result of being unable to deal with the amount of force being transmitted through it. This can result in pain and loss of shoulder function. The pain usually presents on the upper outside aspect of the shoulder joint and it can refer down the upper arm, half way between the shoulder and the elbow. A common feature of rotator cuff tendinopathy is night pain, especially between the hours of 3-6am, and pain when sleeping on the painful shoulder.
What causes rotator cuff tendinopathy?
Rotator cuff tendinopathy can be caused by a sudden increase in shoulder activity, especially when the activity is overhead and repetitive such as painting a wall, throwing balls, or even lifting heavy objects above shoulder height.
What can we do about it?
The good news is that rotator cuff tendinopathy responds well to conservative treatment in the way of a structured exercise based rehabilitation program. Incorporating specific graduated strengthening exercises allows for the tendon to remodel and be able to tolerate a greater amount of force. It has been demonstrated that even basic low load contractions of the rotator cuff can have a positive effect on pain.
If you think you might have a rotator cuff injury, the best person to see is a physiotherapist who can assess your shoulder and determine what course of rehabilitation would be suitable for your condition.
Chris Davies Physiotherapist is in clinic Saturdays by appointment