Shoulder Pain in the Rotator Cuff

November 10, 2021
Definition of Rotator Cuff muscles:
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder joint. The muscles are shaped like an umbrella that helps to cover the ball-shaped end of your humerus (upper arm bone) where it fits into the shallow socket (glenoid fossa) of your shoulder blade. They provide support and stability to the shoulder joint by keeping the head of the humerus centered in the socket. The four rotator cuff muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis.
Causes rotator cuff related shoulder pain:
The four muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff are prone to injury. The force that is required for the muscles to stabilize your shoulder joint against a stronger force of gravity can cause gradual wearing away of these tissues over time, leading to tears, impingement and pain. Some most common causes include:
  • Repetitive overhead activity with work or sports
  • Weakness from lack of exercise or muscle imbalance due to poor posture
  • Secondary to underlying degenerative changes
  • Direct fall on the arm
  • Poor throwing technique (particularly common among children)
Symptoms of rotator cuff related shoulder pain:
  • Either sharp, pinching, or dull aching pain at the front/top/side of your shoulder.
  • Pain that worsens with certain movements, such as lifting your arm above your head, out to the side, reaching behind the back, lifting bags
  • Tenderness and swelling around the top of the shoulder joint.
  • Pain with lying on affected shoulder at night
Physiotherapy for rotator cuff related shoulder pain:
Physiotherapy is an evidence-based treatment approach that improves function, reduces pain, and speeds up recovery. Our Calgary Physiotherapists are well trained to assess which muscles might be causing your problem and to treat these problems by using manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilizations, soft tissue release techniques to improve joint mobility and release tight muscles. They will prescribe strengthening exercises to help strengthen muscles, particularly those around the shoulders and neck region. Also, they will provide education on the importance of rotator cuff exercises, activity modification for work/sports, and postural advice on how to reduce repetitive strain on the shoulders and neck.
Our Calgary Physiotherapists are trained in class 4 laser therapy, manual therapy techniques, and rehabilitation exercises. Our Physiotherapists have experience treating various rotator cuff-related injuries.
Please book an appointment today with Encompass Sports Therapy to get your pain under control so that you can return to the activities you find rewarding. Call us on +1 (403) 257-6992 or book an appointment online at