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What Movement Hurts With Rotator Cuff Injury?

A rotator cuff injury can cause pain and discomfort with various shoulder movements, particularly those that involve raising the arm or rotating the shoulder joint. The specific movements that may exacerbate pain with a rotator cuff injury can vary depending on the nature and severity of the injury, as well as individual factors such as range of motion and muscle strength.

However, some common movements that may aggravate rotator cuff pain include…

  1. Overhead Movements – Raising the arm overhead, such as reaching for objects on a high shelf, lifting weights above the head, or performing overhead activities like painting or throwing, can often exacerbate pain with a rotator cuff injury. This is because overhead movements place increased stress on the rotator cuff tendons and muscles, particularly the supraspinatus tendon.
  2. Reaching Behind the Back – Movements that involve reaching behind the back, such as fastening a bra or reaching for a wallet in the back pocket, can be painful for individuals with a rotator cuff injury, especially if there is impingement or inflammation in the shoulder joint.
  3. Lateral Rotation (External Rotation) – Rotating the shoulder externally, such as reaching the arm out to the side or rotating it away from the body, can also aggravate rotator cuff pain, particularly if there is weakness or instability in the shoulder muscles.
  4. Lifting or Carrying Heavy Objects – Activities that involve lifting, carrying, or pulling heavy objects, especially with the arm held away from the body, can strain the rotator cuff muscles and tendons, leading to pain and discomfort.
  5. Sleeping on the Affected Side – Sleeping on the side of the body with the injured shoulder can worsen rotator cuff pain, as the weight of the body pressing down on the shoulder joint can exacerbate inflammation and impingement.
  6. Repetitive Movements – Repetitive movements that involve the shoulder joint, such as repetitive reaching, lifting, or throwing motions, can lead to overuse injuries of the rotator cuff tendons and muscles, resulting in pain and inflammation over time.

It’s important to note that the specific movements that aggravate rotator cuff pain can vary from person to person, and certain activities that are painful for one individual may not necessarily be painful for another. If you experience persistent shoulder pain or discomfort, especially with overhead movements or activities of daily living, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or physical therapist, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations tailored to your specific needs.