Exercises for Rotator Cuff Pain

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The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround and stabilize the shoulder joint. Because your rotator cuffs are used often in everyday life, they can easily suffer painful injuries. Discover the common causes of rotator cuff pain and explore three exercises that can help you find relief.

Most rotator cuff injuries can leave you sidelined for weeks with limited mobility. Airrosti providers can help you understand your injury and give you the tools needed to address issues as they appear. Consult with an Airrosti provider today to start your recovery.


Shoulder tendonitis is one of the most common causes of rotator cuff pain. Tendonitis happens when the tendons, the tissues that connect muscles to bones, become inflamed. This is caused by repetitive movements and is common among many athletes. Because of this, the condition is often referred to as Tennis Shoulder, Pitcher’s Shoulder, or Swimmer’s Shoulder.  Below are some common symptoms you may experience if you have tendonitis.

  • Dull, aching pain and stiffness from the front of the shoulder to the upper arm
  • Shoulder and arm pain when stretching or reaching
  • Shoulder clicking accompanied by pain when raising the arm
  • Loss of strength and mobility in the arm


Although tendonitis and bursitis are similar injuries caused by overuse, the tissues involved in each condition are different. While tendonitis involves inflamed tendons, shoulder bursitis results from an inflamed bursa. A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac in the shoulder that helps reduce friction. The most noticeable symptoms of shoulder bursitis are below.

  • Pain localized around the middle of the shoulder
  • Pain when the shoulder is touched, raised, or palpated
  • Reduced range of motion in the affected shoulder
  • Swelling, tenderness, and redness around the shoulder
  • Shoulder pain that may get worse at night

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a condition that causes pain and restricts shoulder movement. You’re more likely to develop frozen shoulder if your shoulder has been immobilized for a long period of time, usually when recovering from another injury. Unfortunately, this condition can last from several months to years. Unlike most other rotator cuff conditions, symptoms of frozen shoulder begin gradually and develop in three stages.

3 Stages of Frozen Shoulder      

  • Freezing: Pain starts to occur around the shoulder joint. The pain increases gradually over time and may get worse at night. The affected shoulder’s range of motion is gradually reduced while stiffness in the shoulder increases. This stage can last from 6 to 9 months.
  • Frozen: During the “Frozen” stage, the shoulder will remain stiff. Pain may be reduced, but shoulder movement is most restricted at this stage. This stage is the shortest and typically lasts 4 to 6 months.
  • Thawing: Range of motion slowly improves. Pain gradually fades away.  The “Thawing” stage typically lasts 6 months to 2 years.

Tips and Exercises for Rotator Cuff Pain

Weakened or overused muscles can be huge risk factors for shoulder injuries. One way to address rotator cuff pain is to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder, chest, and upper back. A strong upper body can better support your rotator cuff during overhead movements and help prevent overuse injuries.

Maintaining a well-balanced workout routine will also help you avoid injuries. Giving yourself time to warm up, cool down, and stretch out tense muscles can also help you avoid workout-related pain.

If you’re currently struggling with rotator cuff pain, there are several exercises you can try that can help ease the pain and improve your mobility.

In the video below, Airrosti’s Anthony Pavlich, PT, DPT, shares three simple exercises that target rotator cuff pain.

Fast Shoulder Pain Relief with Airrosti

Rotator cuff injuries can be difficult to tackle. Restricted overhead movements can leave you feeling frustrated, especially when it interferes with your daily activities.

If you’ve tried the above exercises but still struggle with finding pain relief, schedule an appointment with Airrosti. Airrosti providers are dedicated to finding the root cause of your pain and treating injuries at the source. In most cases, complete injury resolution can happen in as few as 3 visits, based on patient-reported outcomes.

We offer both in-office and telehealth appointments to best suit your needs. Give us a call at (800) 404-6050 to schedule your appointment today.

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