Your shoulder is one of the most complicated joints in your body. This workhorse of a ball and socket joint offers the largest range of motion of any joints, with much of that grunt work being offloaded to what medical doctors call your rotator cuff.
Made up of four muscles, your rotator cuff is responsible for keeping your shoulder in its socket as well as help lift and rotate your arm. Your shoulder contains a lot of moving parts, which can create a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. Thankfully, there are just as many exercises designed to ease an aching shoulder.
But first, let’s take a closer look at the most common sources of rotator cuff pain.
What Is a Rotator Cuff Injury?
There are two ways to injure a rotator cuff: impingements and tears. Those that require extensive use of their arms for work know all about impingements. Often the result of overuse, rotator cuff impingements are the result of swelling in the shoulder joint that decreases the space between shoulder bones and leads to the pinching of one of the rotator cuff tendons.
Though less common, rotator cuff tendons or muscles can be torn too. Tears can be caused when a person falls while their arm is stretched out, or following a sudden jerking motion when attempting to lift something heavy. There are also chronic tears, which develop slowly over time, and are often a symptom of chronic tendonitis or impingement syndrome.