How You Can Deal with Rotator Cuff Injuries

Are you experiencing a dull aching pain in your shoulder? Are you finding it difficult to raise your arm for everyday activities like getting a plate out of the cupboard?  If so, you may have a rotator cuff injury. 

Here at Empire Physical Therapy & Athletic Rehabilitation, PC in Midtown East, New York, our expert physical therapists Billy Reilly and Paul LaRosa as well as our highly trained staff offer state-of-the-art treatment for all your rehabilitative and athletic needs. Whether you have a rotator cuff injury or another issue, we focus on you as a whole person, emphasizing manual therapy and progressive rehabilitation for decreased pain and fast recovery.

Rotator cuff injury

The head or "ball" of the upper arm bone is held in the shoulder socket by a collection of muscles and tendons surrounding the joint, known as the rotator cuff. Injuries to this area are one of the most common reasons for shoulder pain and can range from mild to severe.

They typically fall into three categories: tendinitis, bursitis, and strains or tears. Often these injuries are the result of repetitive overhead motions and may be found in painters and those who play baseball or tennis along with others who make similar movements regularly. Other times the injury may occur suddenly after a fall or car accident.


Rotator cuff injuries frequently cause a dull ache, though a sudden injury can result in sharp, intense pain. Often the shoulder cannot perform its full range of motion and things like reaching behind your back may feel difficult or impossible. Sleeping on that side may be uncomfortable and you may notice a progressive weakening of the shoulder over time.


To reach a proper diagnosis, a complete medical history and thorough physical exam, including strength and range of motion tests, is conducted. Depending on the initial findings, an imaging scan such as an X-ray, MRI or ultrasound may be recommended to make a proper determination.


Treatment depends on the diagnosis and severity. In some cases, the injury can get worse so seeking care quickly can be an important step in the healing process.

Some people can recover with simple solutions including hot or cold packs to reduce swelling, resting the arm and potentially wearing a sling, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Others find relief with a cortisone injection to help reduce inflammation. Severe injuries may require surgery.

Whether nonsurgical or surgical treatment is needed, physical therapy is often a crucial component. Our expert staff can work with you on specially targeted exercises to help you improve your strength and range of motion. 

If your doctor has recommended physical therapy for your rotator cuff injury, call us at 646-491-9141 or click our "request appointment" button today.

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