Shoulder tendinitis is pain and inflammation in the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles. For this reason, it is also known as rotator cuff tendonitis.
This tendonitis causes pain in the shoulder during arm elevations, and forced movements such as lifting an object, leaning on one’s arm, or throwing an object. The pain can also occur at rest, and at night when lying on your shoulder.
This shoulder pain is common among athletes practicing bodybuilding, tennis, or swimming, and also among people with a job requiring repetitive arm movements.
To treat tendonitis of the shoulder, the treatment is based on the practice of rehabilitation exercises, the education of the right gestures to perform, and techniques aimed at relieving pain, such as heat, osteopathy, acupuncture , or anti-inflammatories.
The objective of the treatment is to cure shoulder tendinitis by reducing pain and improving the function of your shoulder, that is to say your ability to carry out your daily actions normally.
The minimum healing time for rotator cuff tendonitis is usually 2 to 4 weeks, but can take several months in cases of chronic tendonitis.
Shoulder pain: causes and diagnosis
When you have shoulder tendonitis, it is important to rest your shoulder, to reduce your pain, and calm the inflammation present. This means avoiding all actions and activities that increase your pain. More specifically, do not force your shoulder if the intensity of the pain is greater than 5/10.
On the other hand, immobilization and total rest of the shoulder are not recommended. Indeed, it can delay the healing of tendinitis, and increase shoulder stiffness. Therefore, it is advisable to continue working your shoulder, as long as your pain remains below 5/10.
In some cases, a work stoppage is often offered to people working in physical and repetitive jobs. The duration of the work stoppage can vary from 5 to 21 days, depending on the difficulty of the work performed.
However, for proper care, it is important to resume your usual activities as soon as possible, within the limits of your pain. Resuming your normal activities is essential to restore your shoulder function and prevent disability .
Certain everyday actions should be avoided because they tend to increase pain. You must therefore learn to do the right things so as not to hurt your shoulder, while continuing to use it. To avoid doing the wrong things and making your tendinitis worse, use this infographic that shows you the right things to do:
Put cold or hot
Since shoulder tendonitis is often associated with inflammation, it is recommended to use cold to relieve pain. So, you can place ice on your shoulder, for 15 minutes, 2–3 times a day ( 2 ).
Cold is recognized for its painkiller action, and for calming inflammation. However, it tends to increase joint stiffness and decrease tendon flexibility. Therefore, it is preferable to use the cold after the activity or the practice of rehabilitation exercises.
Heat can also be used to soothe shoulder pain. For this, place the heat, using a hot water bottle for example, on your shoulder, for 15 minutes. Because heat improves shoulder flexibility, you can use heat before rehabilitation exercises or physical activity.
The practice of rehabilitation exercises is recognized as the most recommended and effective treatment for tendinitis of the shoulder.
These exercises must be practiced for a minimum of 6 weeks, unless the intensity of your pain is greater
The exercises prescribed are aimed at improving the range of motion, mobility and stability of the shoulder. Recommended exercises generally include active stretching to regain normal mobility, as well as muscle strengthening of the shoulder and scapula muscles.
Also, the exercises aim to strengthen the muscles that will allow you to correct bad gestures and postures, to allow your shoulder to regain “normal functioning”.