Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Treatment and Therapy

According to Stats Canada, shoulders are the most common body part (22.6%) affected by repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Primary examples of shoulder RSI’s are rotator cuff tendonitisbursitis, and rotator cuff tears. These ailments are the result of repetitive overhead shoulder movements, and are common to athletes who throw (baseball players or football QB’s), swim, or lift with the arms repetitively (bodybuilders and weightlifters). Of course, there are also a wide variety of activities and professions where the same shoulder movements are made, making participants susceptible to an RSI of the shoulder.

Shoulder Pain Solutions Available at Our Red Deer and Olds AB Clinic

Common Forms of Shoulder Pain

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

The most commonly affected tendons in the shoulder are the four rotator cuff tendons. The muscles that come together as tendons include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. Unlike a tear (more on this below) tendonitis in the shoulder is the result of repetitive microtrauma to the rotator cuff muscles. Rotator cuff impingement is an offshoot of tendonitis, and is the result of rotator cuff tendons rubbing (impinging) against a bony process of the scapula. When reoccurring, your rotator cuff tendons become inflamed, swollen, and painful. It is not uncommon for sufferers to refer to this ailment as a toothache-like pain in the shoulder. Just don’t put off a visit to our clinic as you might with a trip to the dentist’s chair!


Bursa (or bursae) are compact, fluid-filled sacs in your shoulder. They serve as buffers between your bones and the overlying soft tissues, reducing friction between the moving muscles and the bone. When repetitive use of the shoulder results in inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the rotator cuff and the acromion (noted above regarding impingementsubacromial bursitis may result. In the beginning, you may not be able to throw, swim, or lift weight, but the condition can escalate to the point that even brushing your hair can be a cringe worthy endeavor. Book an appointment as soon as possible to make sure this does not become a chronic issue. Rotator Cuff Tear The tearing of your tendons may be the result of a sudden and acute injury, excessive overuse, or the degenerative changes that unfortunately come from getting older. Like any tear, they may be partial (shorter recovery time) or may be complete, where the tendon is split into two or has separated from the bone (much longer recovery). You will feel pain near the tip of your shoulder and it will be sore to move your arm in certain directions, depending on which muscle is torn. Mainly people tear the supraspinatus tendon and this makes it painful to lift an arm up or move to the side. There’s no wait and see when it comes to a shoulder tear, you need to follow up with one of our clinics as soon as you’ve left the emergency room.

Other Forms of Shoulder Pain

While the key culprits are addressed above, there are other ailments connected to shoulder pain that you may be experiencing.

These include the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Instability
  • Fracture
  • Cartilage Tear (labrum)
  • Neck pain