What’s a Rotator Cuff?


The rotator cuff is a grouping of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder blade and secures the head of your upper arm bone into your shoulder socket. The shoulder joint is a complex area, and there are several ways it can be injured.

How does a Rotator Cuff tear?

The rotator cuff tendons can tear if you strain them, or use your arm to break a fall. They can also become inflamed due to heavy lifting, sports, or repetitive overhead activity. Painting, carpentry, swimming, playing tennis, and pitching a baseball are common examples and any other activities that bring the arm up over the head could cause a rotator cuff tear. A partial tear is when the tendon that protects the top of your shoulder is frayed or damaged. The other is a complete tear. That’s one that goes all the way through the tendon or pulls the tendon off the bone. 

What’s Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome?

Shoulder impingement syndrome, also known as thrower’s shoulder, is an inflammation caused by the bones of the shoulder impressing on the tendons or bursa. Over time, bone spurs and ligament thickening may make symptoms worse, and make the injury more complicated to treat.

What does it feel like to have Rotator Cuff injury?  Rotator Cuff injury symptoms include:

  • Deep, dull, aching pain in the shoulder.
  • Pain when sleeping on the side of the injured shoulder.
  • Stiffness.
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Weakness in the arm.
  • Cracking sensation with movement.
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks, like brushing hair or reaching behind your back.

Symptoms can range in severity from mild, to moderate, to severe. A mild injury may only hurt when moving the shoulder with a limited range of motion. A moderate injury will cause pain during activity and at night while resting. Continuous pain is a sign of a severe shoulder injury that should be treated right away.

Rotator Cuff Injury Treatments

At Nuvo Spine, we take a multi-disciplinary approach to rotator cuff injuries and improving mobility eliminating the possibility of rotator cuff surgery. Our nonsurgical treatment options range from conservative to advanced and can be combined and tailored to fit your individual needs and circumstances around your rotator cuff injury.

Your pain management specialist will conduct a thorough physical exam, review your medical history, perform a series of tests to determine rotator cuff problem. Such techniques as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan may be utilized. An MRI scan is a non-invasive test to get a detailed view of the affected shoulder. Soft tissues are clearly visible, unlike an x-ray, to determine the proper diagnosis and the state of your rotator cuff tear. Once diagnosed, the progress of recommended treatment will be monitored using advanced imaging tests and innovative nonsurgical treatments, avoiding surgical treatment, to provide pain relief and possible full recovery.

Many patients with rotator cuff injury can make a full recovery with just physical therapy. A physical therapist can teach rotator cuff injury exercises to improve flexibility and mobility and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.

If conservative treatments don’t work, you may need more advanced care. Nuvo Spine offers cutting-edge techniques that use living biological tissue to enhance your body’s own regenerative powers. At Nuvo Spine, we’ll explore advanced, minimally-invasive treatment options, avoiding surgical repair, such as:

  • Rotator cuff physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medications and Cortisone injections for rotator cuff injury
  • Rotator cuff stem cell therapy treatment. This is where we put growth factors and anti-inflammatory proteins from bone marrow to work, repairing damaged tissue.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. PRP is a high concentration of white blood cells stimulate the body’s natural immune response, mobilizing stem cells to the injured area.
  • A2M (Alpha-2-Macroglobulin) Injection

Our award-winning physician is board-certified, specializing in innovative solutions to shoulder injuries. We make it our mission to serve you and get you the results that you deserve. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, make an appointment online or call us at (888) 370-9354 today. Our award-winning pain management specialist will assess the extent of your damage and make a recommendation based on your individual circumstances.


Our Locations

Choose your preferred location