Home treatment options for rotator cuff tendinitis
Rotator cuff tendinitis is one of the most common sources of shoulder pain among adults. It happens when a group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint, called the rotator cuff, become inflamed and painful, which can interfere with reaching, lifting and sleeping.
Orthopedic surgeon David Fulton, MD, said rotator cuff tendinitis can develop gradually with no notable injury, or it might develop after repetitive strain to the shoulder or a single traumatic event.
“Night pain in the outside of the arm is a very common symptom in people with rotator cuff tendinitis,” he said. “There is a bursal sac next to the rotator cuff tendons that becomes inflamed, thickened and irritated, and adds to the pain of rotator cuff tendinitis. This problem can greatly interfere with one’s quality of life.”
To help, Dr. Fulton offered some tips for home treatment, including:
- Behavior modifications such as avoiding repetitive overhead lifting or throwing
“A structured course of home exercises to strengthen the muscles around the rotator cuff gradually can be done with resistive bands,” Dr. Fulton said. “The exercises may help increase the strength and blood flow to the injured tendons and eventually reduce pain. Icing and anti-inflammatory medication, if you can safely tolerate the medication, may be of value for pain reduction.”
If the shoulder pain does not improve or resolve, Dr. Fulton recommended seeking medical treatment with further imaging and evaluation.
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