The rotator cuff is a group of muscles which originate on the shoulder blade and then attach to the head of the shoulder, surrounding the head of the humerus. Their role is to maintain the position of the head in the joint as you lift and move the arm through space.
Pain in the shoulder is common and is often attributed to the rotator cuff or surrounding structures. It can be from a tendinopathy, partial or full tear, can be acute or an overuse injury. People will often find pain when lifting the shoulder out to the side, above the head out in front or perhaps reaching behind the back into the back seat of the car for instance. Dysfunction of the rotator cuff can also lead to other conditions of the shoulder, like bursitis for example.
Having rotator cuff related shoulder pain can lead to discomfort with general day to day activities like hanging out the washing. It can also affect training, particularly with overhead movements or pushing movements like shoulder press, or bench press. You could feel as though your throwing distance has decreased or pain when throwing. If you’re having troubles with these movements, you could be experiencing rotator cuff related shoulder pain.
According to research, treatment of rotator cuff related shoulder pain, should involve exercise for long term effect. However short-term treatments can include, massage, dry needling, anti-inflammatories; including cortisone injection and short periods of rest. To determine the best course of action it is best to see your physio to establish a plan of action to improve your function with a goal in mind.