Harvard Women's Health Watch

What to do about rotator cuff tendinitis

The best way to treat the most common cause of shoulder pain is with simple home therapies.

Swinging a tennis racket, digging in the garden, placing a book on a high shelf, and reaching back to insert your arm into a sleeve — these are some of the movements made possible by the shoulder's enormous range of motion. We use this mobility in so many activities that when the shoulder hurts, it can be disabling. For younger people, sports injuries are the main source of trouble, but the rest of us have more to fear from the normal wear and tear that, over time, weakens shoulder tissues and leaves them vulnerable to injury. The risk is greatest for people with occupations or hobbies that require repetitive or overhead movements, such as cashiering, using a computer, painting, gardening, tennis, or swimming.

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