Shoulder tendonitis is an inflammation of your rotator cuff and/or biceps tendon. Your rotator cuff consists of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder. They connect your upper arm bone to your shoulder blade.
Shoulder tendonitis is often caused by a tendon being pinched by nearby structures. Shoulder tendonitis often occurs in certain sports that require your arm to move over your head repeatedly. Such sports include baseball, weightlifting, volleyball, racket sports, and certain swimming strokes.
Shoulder tendonitis may range from mild to severe inflammation of most of your rotator cuff. When your rotator cuff tendon gets inflamed and thickened, it is also called rotator cuff tendonitis. Chronic shoulder tendonitis can lead to calcified tendonitis or tendinosis, where large calcium deposits and scar tissue form on the tendon leading to a limited range of motion and regular pain.
Shoulder tendonitis treatment for most cases starts with relatively simple, at-home care under your doctor’s supervision. Treatments from your doctor may also include physical therapy, stretching, and steroid injections. If conservative treatments have failed and it appears to have progressed to caclified tendonitis or tendinosis, you may be faced with surgery to debride/scrape the damaged tissue from the rotator cuff or a single treatment of Orthowave® High-energy Shockwave Therapy, the FDA approved non-invasive alternative to surgery.
Treatment depends on the severity of your shoulder tendonitis. Common treatments include rest, limited us of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories for pain, and strengthening exercises. If the conservative treatments have failed, your physician might recommend corticosteroid injections for the pain, surgery, or non-invasive High-energy Shockwave Therapy.
The pain is a little bit different for each person, but it is generally described as a soreness that gets worse when you reach, lift, push or pull with the injured shoulder. Occasionally, there might be a “clicking” feeling when you lift your arm over your head. The pain often subsides with rest but returns with activity.
Healing time varies from person to person. It depends on your age, underlying medical conditions and many other factors. Shoulder tendonitis usually heals within 3-6 weeks, depending on the treatments received but can become chronic and last for months or years if left untreated. Chronic cases sometimes require surgery or High-energy Shockwave Therapy for relief.
Try to avoid sleeping on your back or injured shoulder and instead sleep on the uninjured side. You may want to use a body pillow to help keep you in proper position. Be sure to use a pillow that provides good support for your head to keep your upper body in proper alignment.
There are several exercises which can help with shoulder pain. One of the more common exercises is the arm-across-chest stretch. For the arm-across-chest stretch, hold your injured arm out in front of you, reach with the opposite hand to behind your elbow on the injured side and pull your arm across your chest. The goal is to pull your injured arm across your chest without feeling any pain. Hold for 30-60 seconds, relax and repeat.
Sometimes the pain will resolve on its own, but more frequently, the pain and severity will worsen if left untreated. The more severe the injury, the longer it takes for it to completely heal and recover. Conservative treatments like rest and physical therapy can often heal mild to moderate tendonitis but surgery or non-invasive High-energy Shockwave Therapy may be required for moderate to severe tendonitis.