The quick answer is yes, most of the time. I put most of the time at the end of that simply because there are some shoulder problems that will need corrective surgery or may benefit from surgery because of the severity of the injury. However nearley all rotator cuff pain comes from fairly easy to fix shoulder problems most of which can be treated successfully with physical therapy. (that's exercise to most of us) If you have torn a rotator cuff tendon badly or actually managed to get a full thickness tear then surgery is going to be needed.
The rotator cuff is a small but very important group of muscles all of which run from the shoulder blade at one end and fix to the upper arm or humerus at the other. They surround the shoulder in a cuff of muscle, hence the name. They are very tightly connected and weave under and over the bones of the shoulder so any problem caused by injury will result in pain. The pain is usually caused by certain movements such as reaching or lifting the arm above shoulder height. The rotator cuff is prone to problems as we age and if we do a sports activity or job that involves a lot of overhead movement.
If you injure these muscles it is vital to rest them at first as continuing to use these muscles when they are already inflamed can cause serious injury. Any inflammation needs to be treated with non-steroidal drugs such as Ibuprofen. An ice pack will also help to reduce|in reducing} pain and inflammation. Once the damaged muscle has calmed down, you can start gentle shoulder specific exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.
These exercises will involve small movements with little or no weight intially, often just using the weight of the arm. The rotator cuff are small muscles. Using weights will tend to exercise the major muscles of the shoulder and ignore the ones you are trying to fix. Rotator cuff specific exercises need to focus on strengthening these muscles which are fundamental to having a healthy shoulder.
It is very important not to try working through this type of injury. The pain is caused by tendons catching on the bone of the joint. If you ignore the pain and carry on using the shoulder you will mess up the muscle even further. Think of it as an old tow rope rubbing against something sharp. Carry on rubbing it against the edge in the same place and eventually it will snap. If this happens you are looking at major surgery and a long recovery period and you will still end up doing the therapy that could have sorted your shoulder out in the first place.
So don't self diagnose when it comes to rotator cuff pain. Make sure you get examined and diagnosed by a professional and then get the right kind of exercise programme to do when the problem has started to settle down. Once your shoulder is fixed, keep up the therapy exercises to make sure that your shoulders stay healthy and you avoid any further problems
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If you want to know how I solved my rotator cuff pain with just exercise check out my story at my blog
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