Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Pain:
- Dull Ache or Deep Discomfort:
- One of the hallmark signs of rotator cuff pain is a persistent, dull ache in the shoulder. This discomfort often feels deep within the joint and can be aggravated by specific movements or activities.
- Pain with Arm Movements:
- Rotator cuff pain typically worsens when you move your arm, especially when lifting it overhead or reaching behind your back. Activities like reaching for items on high shelves or combing your hair can trigger discomfort in addition to weightlifting in the gym. The pain is present as the muscle is firing to stabilize the shoulder.
- Weakness in the Shoulder:
- A weakened feeling in the affected shoulder is common. You may notice that your arm feels less stable or that you struggle with tasks that require strength, such as lifting objects or performing overhead exercises. This is many times a protective mechanism of the brain to prevent further injury, but can also be a sign of a possible more problematic tear.
- Limited Range of Motion:
- Rotator cuff pain often leads to a reduced range of motion in the shoulder joint. You may find it challenging to raise your arm fully or rotate it outward, which can significantly impact daily activities. This again is mainly a protective mechanism of the brain to prevent further injury.
- Pain at Night:
- Many individuals with rotator cuff pain experience increased discomfort at night, particularly when lying on the affected shoulder. This can lead to disrupted sleep patterns. Pain is really controlled by the nervous system which loves movement, blood flow, and space. At night all these things are decreased and the nerves are calling out for movement and blood.
- Crackling or Popping Sensation:
- Some people report hearing or feeling a crackling or popping sensation in the shoulder when they move it. This can be a sign of inflammation or friction within the joint as well as poor mechanical control of the shoulder.
- Radiating Pain:
- In some cases, rotator cuff pain may radiate down the arm, causing discomfort in the upper arm or even into the forearm. Other times it can radiate up towards the neck or to the back of the shoulder blade. This can mimic other conditions like nerve compression.
- Difficulty with Everyday Tasks:
- Rotator cuff pain can interfere with routine activities like combing your hair, getting dressed, reaching for objects on a table or in the fridge, as well as more functional tasks such as working out.. Everyday tasks may become challenging due to the pain and limited mobility.