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Dr. Mark J. Kirk &
Dr. James McNally
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Rotator Cuff Tendonitis


Rotator cuff tendonitis might not sound familiar to you because it has a variety of other names, including pitcher's shoulder, swimmer's shoulder and tennis shoulder. But even if you're not a pitcher, you don't swim or you've never played tennis, rotator cuff tendonitis can affect you. Several factors, like sudden injury or trauma, can lead to this condition, meaning everyone is at risk.

The main symptom of rotator cuff tendonitis is debilitating pain in the shoulder. It usually begins gradually, when patients are using their arm in everyday activities. Later, the pain may travel to the upper arm and elbow, sometimes worsening at night. Ultimately, those suffering from rotator cuff tendonitis find that the pain is so intense they can't move their arm the way they used to.

The culprit is the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and their associated tendons that form a sleeve around the shoulder joint. These tendons connect the muscles to the bones in the shoulder, allowing the arm to move up, move down, stabilize and rotate.

The problem starts when the tendons become inflamed, as a result of an injury, repeated overhead arm movements (like reaching for a high object) or the ordinary wear and tear of everyday life. In younger, more active people, falls and sports-related injuries are usually the cause. For less active older people, the tendons are usually already weakened, making them more susceptible to tears during normal activity.

If you have rotator cuff tendonitis, it's important to see a chiropractor as soon as possible. The condition can lead to shoulder impingement syndrome, a more serious problem that can severely restrict your shoulder's range of motion. Chiropractors are highly successful in providing care for patients with rotator cuff tendonitis, and chiropractic management offers many safe, conservative and effective methods of relieving pain and reducing inflammation.