When the tendons around the shoulder become inflamed, swollen, or irritated, it can create a condition known as rotator cuff tendonitis. This is also known as bursitis. It is a common condition that affects both men and women of any age. Fortunately, it can be easily treated at home.
The main cause for rotator cuff tendonitis (RCT) stems from a weakness in the joint. This is something with which people can be born, presenting with a somewhat hooked acromion that potentially sets them up for RCT. It is also commonly found in those who participate in sports. Excessive training or playing vigorously for extended periods of time can cause extra strain on the shoulder. Certain injuries can also contribute to this condition. A weakened rotator cuff will cause the humerus to move up and pinch the cuff. This causes the bursa, which is a cushion between the rotator cuff and the acromion/humerus, to become inflamed.
The symptoms of RCT are usually gradual in nature. You may notice slight pain around the shoulder. The pain intensifies with any activity that is done overhead, such as reaching up to grab something or throwing something above your shoulder level. The pain will most likely be noticeable during the activity and shortly thereafter. Your shoulder may begin to feel weak and such weakness may become more pronounced when you attempt an overhead movement or a pushing movement.
It is not uncommon to hear or feel a mild cracking or popping sensation in the shoulder, either, and sleeping on it may be difficult due to the inflammation and pain. The area around your shoulder might also feel warm, as if it is burning.
The most obvious step in the treatment of this condition is to stop doing the activity that exacerbates it. Refrain from these activities until the tendonitis has completely healed, otherwise, you can just make it worse and that much more difficult to heal.
The usual methodology of rest, ice, compression, and elevation are encouraged until the pain diminishes. If necessary, you may want to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. When you are ready, get back into your activities on a gradual basis.