One of the most common culprits for the pain caused in a shoulder with overhead motions, is rotator cuff tendonitis. This can be the pitcher in a baseball game, or the person painting the living room over the weekend. Many tasks can irritate the rotator cuff, so let me fill you in on the topic.
Tendonitis simply means inflammation of the tendon, and rotator cuff tendonitis is very common with people who perform repeated overhead motions, which makes some athletes predisposed to this painful problem. The shoulder joint gives us more motion than any other joint in the body but it is also the most unstable joint in your body, in fact the only thing holding in place is soft tissue consisting of tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Our shoulder relies on the strength of the muscles to give us smooth and coordinated movement and when one of the many muscles that surround the shoulder become weak, it causes a dysfunction in movement, which places stress on other structures. The rotator cuff is a “cuff” of four muscles and it is often the tissue that pays the price for this shoulder dysfunction.
Once the rotator cuff becomes irritated and inflamed, it can lead into a rotator cuff tear down the road. When a tissue becomes inflamed, the inflammation chokes out the blood supply and the vital nutrients needed for the tissue to heal. If this continues over time, the tissue can weaken and tear. Rotator cuff tears often require surgery, depending on their severity, and come with many weeks of painful rehab, and lots of lost wages.
In the early stages of a rotator cuff problem, a doctor may tell you to control the inflammation with ice and anti-inflammatories, and also to start a rotator cuff strengthening program. If the problem has progressed, physical therapy is often suggested because they have more aggressive means of controlling inflammation and speeding the healing process.
Your best defense in preventing a problem before it happens is to perform rotator cuff strengthening exercises. While the exercises are boring and will not make your arms look better, they can easily prevent the pain and inconvenience of surgery, not to mention preventing the nasty scars that would be seen in the sleeveless outfits.
If you want to prevent a shoulder dysfunction, seek a professional with a physical therapy background, as certain motions of the shoulder make any problems worse or create new ones! While very few personal trainers have this type of background, I do know of one who has a staff of professional trainers that can help you.