Rotator cuff injuries are extremely common, with the odds of suffering one increasing with age. These injuries vary in severity and can come about from a range of incidents. While painful, they are fully treatable. Read on to learn the basics of these injuries and explore causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

What is a rotator cuff injury?

First, it’s important to understand what the rotator cuff is. The rotator cuff is a segment of muscles and tendons in the upper arm, specifically surrounding the shoulder joint. This muscle group keeps the head of the upper arm secured within the shoulder socket. 

Rotator cuff injuries are very common. These injuries are typically sustained via injury or while performing activities that require repeated overhead motions. Some careers that can contribute to the infliction of a rotator cuff injury include carpentry, painting and other manual labor. 

Additional causes include progressive degeneration. This refers to damage sustained over time.

There are other factors that may lead to sustainment of a rotator cuff injury. These factors include:


  • Rotator cuff injuries, when not sustained via injury, most commonly occur in those age 60 or older. As you get older, your chances increase. 

Family history

  • There are potential genetic factors associated with these types of injuries. Research has shown that these injuries can occur more frequently in certain families.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injuries

The only true symptom of a rotator cuff injury is pain. This kind of pain is typically described as dull and aching. The pain should be felt deep within the shoulder. Many patients report the pain as disruptive of sleep, creating difficulty in performing tasks such as brushing hair or reaching overhead and causing weakness in the arm.

Potential Complications

Left untreated, rotator cuff injuries can have long-term and debilitating effects. This kind of injury may lead to permanent loss of motion in the arm or shoulder as well as perpetual weakness. While resting the area is important for recovery, excessive immobilization of the shoulder can cause the related tissue to become thickened and tight — this condition is known as “frozen shoulder.” Although frozen shoulder has been seen as a surgical case, there is more and more research supporting evidence of conservative care. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

Rotator cuff injuries are diagnosed via a physical examination performed by a doctor. The doctor will press on different areas of the shoulder and move the arm into different positions to measure pain and stiffness, then test the strength of the shoulder and arm muscles.

Typically, the physical examination is enough to make a diagnosis. In some cases, the doctor may recommend imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI. 

In many cases, conservative treatment methods such as rest and ice are more than enough to facilitate a smooth recovery. However, in more severe cases, there are other treatment options available. These methods may include:

Chiropractic & Mobility Taining for Rotator Cuff Injury

  • Chiropractic should be one of your first go-to’s to gently heal a rotator cuff injury. The proper adjustment will restore proper biomechanics to the affected area and allow for inflammation to leave the area and healing to occur more quickly.Your chiropractor can help you with a targeted plan to heal your rotator cuff injury with chiropractic adjustments. 
  • We also can create an exercise plan designed to restore strength and flexibility to the affected area. 
  • And, we will do strength and mobility training, as well as provide exercises to do at home. Often we can show you how to do everything with a resistance band or body weight so it’s easy for you to do.


  • A steroid injection to the shoulder joint can be majorly beneficial in pain alleviation. These shots are especially helpful when the patient is suffering from pain-related sleep loss or problems surrounding day-to-day activity. 
  • PRP and stem cell injections have shown promise with repair in the rotator cuff. Although they can be more expensive and out of pocket costs. 


  • There are several different surgeries available for patients with rotator cuff injuries, including tendon transfer, open tendon repair, arthroscopic tendon repair and, in the most severe cases, shoulder replacement.

Anyone who has sustained a rotator cuff injury should consult with an experienced doctor to create an individualized course of treatment in order to facilitate proper healing.

About Zandi Chiropractic | Denver & Boulder Chiropractors

Dr. Sepehr Zandi and Dr. Christina Zandi both specialize in full body chiropractic care and soft tissue manipulation. With chiropractic offices in Boulder and Denver, you’re not far away from getting the treatment you need to start feeling better today. Dr. Sepher Zandi is located at 1810 30th St., Suite D Boulder, CO 80301 and Dr. Christina Zandi is located at 2750 S Wadsworth Blvd Suite D-201 Denver, CO 80227. The Boulder office can be reached by telephone at (303) 499-0225 and the Denver office can be reached at (303) 653-3490. For more information, visit

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