How to Relieve Pain in the Rotator Cuff ?

how to relieve pain in rotator cuff

The rotator cuff is an assembly of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint, and its job is to keep the top of the arm bone in the shoulder socket.

However, injuries occur, and since the shoulder is very mobile, it’s common to injure your rotator cuff. This article will tell you how to relieve pain in rotator cuff.

Some signs of this include:

  • popping or clicking in the shoulder
  • difficulty (and pain) when raising your arm
  • overall weakness in the shoulder

When this happens, there are some actions you can take to find relief from the rotator cuff pain.

how to relieve pain in rotator cuff

Cold or Hot Therapy

Some people find that their rotator cuff pain responds better to cold therapy, while others feel better with heat. In general, though, ice is often more effective for those with an injury, whereas heat is more soothing for those with chronic pain.


There are also some exercises and stretches that you can complete for rotator cuff pain relief, including:

Doorway Stretch

Grip the sides of a doorway with each hand at or below shoulder height. Then, lean forward through the doorway until there is a light stretch. Shift your weight onto your toes and keep a straight back; you should feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder.

High-To-Low Rows

With a resistance band attached to something at or above shoulder height, lower down onto the knee on the injured side, keeping the opposite knee raised. Then, holding the resistance band and keeping your torso still, pull your elbows toward your body.

A physical therapist can provide additional exercises for rotator pain relief directed toward the muscle where the pain originates.

How To Relieve Pain In Rotator Cuff at Night

One of the mysteries surrounding rotator cuff pain is why it worsens at night. There are some speculations, such as muscle tension and blood flow, but there is no definitive conclusion.

However, there are some things you can do to help with pain at night.

Adjust Your Sleeping Position

How you sleep may be pulling and tugging on the rotator cuff injury, causing more pain. The key to sleeping with a rotator cuff tear is properly supporting the body with pillows or folded blankets. If you’re a back sleeper, place a prop under your injured arm to keep the elbow from dropping too low.

For side sleepers, sleep on the opposite side of your injured arm, and place your injured arm in front of you, resting on top of a stack of pillows. The pillows should be as tall as your body so that your shoulder remains in a neutral position.

If you’re a stomach sleeper, find a different position to sleep in while your rotator cuff heals because this places your arm and shoulder in an awkward position. Or you can contact with Rotator Cuff surgery specialist to know more about it.

Pain Relievers

If your rotator cuff pain keeps you up at night, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, about an hour before bedtime. This gives the medication time to start working so that your pain is less when trying to sleep.

Rotator Cuff Pain Relief

Rotator cuff injuries are common, but there are actions you can take to help manage their pain.

Following the above steps can help you manage your pain during the day and at night. If you still suffer from rotator cuff pain, though, reach out to San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center for more information and guidance. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment.

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San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Inc., San Diego, CA

Phone (appointments): 619-229-3932

Phone (general inquiries): 619-229-3932

Address: 6719 Alvarado Road, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92120

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