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Where is Rotator Cuff Pain

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach the upper arm bone (humerus) to the socket of the shoulder blade (scapula). These muscles and tendons help to move and stabilize the shoulder joint. When these muscles and tendons become damaged or strained, it can lead to pain and limited mobility in the shoulder. This shoulder pain is commonly referred to as rotator cuff pain.

But where exactly is this rotator cuff problem felt? The pain associated with a rotator cuff injury can be felt in a variety of locations, depending on the specific injury or condition.

Where is Rotator Cuff Pain

a guy signaling where is rotator cuff pain

One common location for rotator cuff pain is in the shoulder itself. The pain may be a dull ache or a sharp, shooting pain. It may be worse when lifting or reaching overhead, and may even radiate down the arm.

Another location where rotator cuff pain may be felt is in the upper arm. The pain may be felt on the front or back of the arm, or even in the armpit. This pain may be accompanied by weakness in the arm and a limited range of motion.

Where is Rotator Cuff Tear Pain

Rotator cuff tear pain is specifically located where the tear occurs, often in the front or back of the shoulder. Pain from a torn rotator cuff may be felt when lifting or reaching overhead, and may be accompanied by a popping or clicking sound.

In some cases, rotator cuff pain may also be felt in the neck or upper back. This is because the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff also connect to the neck and upper back, so a problem in the rotator cuff can affect these areas as well.  Check out this video for a full breakdown.

Why Does My Rotator Cuff Hurt

So why does the rotator cuff hurt? There are several possible causes of rotator cuff pain, including:

  • Overuse: Repetitive overhead motions, such as those involved in sports like tennis or certain jobs where you move your arm, can put a lot of stress on the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. Over time, this can lead to irritation, inflammation, and even partial tears in the rotator cuff.
  • Injury: A fall or other accident can cause a direct injury to the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. This can lead to pain and limited mobility in the shoulder.
  • Age: As we age, the muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff can become weaker and more prone to injury. This can lead to pain and limited mobility in the shoulder.
  • Poor posture: Poor posture can put extra stress on the rotator cuff muscles and tendons, leading to pain and limited mobility in the shoulder.

Dr. Mills treating a female with rotator cuff pain 1

Why Is It Important To See A Physical Therapist For An Evaluation

Rotator cuff injury, while common, is not something to be taken lightly. If you are experiencing pain or limited mobility in the shoulder, it’s important to see a physical therapist for an evaluation. They can help determine the cause of your pain and create an individualized treatment plan to help you recover and prevent future injuries.

Conclusion

In summary, rotator cuff pain can be felt in various locations such as shoulder, upper arm, neck and upper back. The pain can be caused by various factors such as overuse, injury, age and poor posture. The rotator cuff is located in the shoulder, where the upper arm bone (humerus) meets the shoulder blade (scapula). If you are experiencing pain or limited mobility in the shoulder, it’s important to see a physical therapist for an accurate diagnosis as well as a guided plan specific to you.

Joseph Rosi, DPT

Dr. Rosi is a performance orthopedic and men’s pelvic health physical therapist. He has a passion for helping people get out of pain, recover from an injury, and increase performance. He believes everyone should take the time to learn how to move optimally before injuries ever occur. Outside of working with clients, he spends time with his wife and loves to travel the world.

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