What can I do About Shoulder Tendinitis?

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  • Written By: Haven Esme
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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When the shoulder is injured due to a problem with the muscles or tendons this is referred to as shoulder tendinitis. Shoulder tendinitis causes the muscles to become swollen and inflamed. The problem often develops when people use the arm in repetitive motions to the point where it sustains injury. Tendinitis is very common among professional tennis players, baseball players, swimmers and anyone else who repetitively uses their shoulders for a physically strenuous task.

Unfortunately, it isn't just professional athletes who develop shoulder tendinitis. Anyone who uses their shoulder repetitively or in such a way to cause injury can be affected. Problems with the shoulder can happen to anyone at any age, although it's more common in those over the age of 40. People in non-professional, athletic settings usually get tendinitis from heavy lifting, trauma to the shoulder, and jobs that forces them to repetitively use the shoulder in physical activity.

According to Noble Hospital, shoulder tendinitis is becoming more common among the public. Many people who don't know how to properly carry heavy bags, or adjust their seat so that they won't get injured at their computer workstation develop tendinitis. Regular people are suffering from shoulder tendinitis due to making common everyday lifestyle mistakes.


According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the most common cause of shoulder tendinitis is impingement. This occurs when there is a vast amount of pressure applied to the rotator cuff in the shoulder blade. There are four muscles which the rotator cuff are linked to. Whenever the rotator cuff is damaged these four muscles are affected. People most at risk are the middle-aged and young athletes. Some of the recommended treatments for tendinitis include an injection of cortisone to the affected area, anti-inflammatory medication and stretching exercises.

There are three types of shoulder tendinitis: rotator cuff tendinitis, bicep tendinitis, and calcific tendinitis. A person can distinguish which form of tendinitis they have based on the amount and location of the pain. Rotator cuff tendinitis is located three inches below the top of the shoulder. This pain is usually felt when a person reaches behind or overhead.

Calcific tendinitis is most noticeable because the pain is excruciating and a person will barely be able to move their shoulder at all. This is caused by calcium deposits that build up in the tendons. Some doctors have tried to prevent excessive calcium deposits by restricting dietary intake of calcium.

The third type of tendinitis is bicep tendinitis. This affects the muscles attached to the shoulder. Bicep tendinitis occurs most commonly from the forceful throwing of a ball. It isn't as painful as calcific tendinitis and the person experiences the pain at the shoulder itself rather than the arm. The best way to heal bicep tendinitis is with an arm sling.

Thankfully, there are treatments available for people with shoulder tendinitis. The main treatment includes resting and allowing the shoulder to heal naturally. When shoulder tendinitis is considered severe, physical therapy may be needed.

During physical therapy, an individual will need to do a series of exercises to repair the shoulder and to relieve the muscle damage. The last resort for shoulder tendinitis is surgery. This should be the final thing that a person opts to do after resting, physical therapy, and medications have not worked.


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