Physio Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator Cuff Tear 

What is the rotator cuff? 

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, supporting the upper arm firmly within the shoulder socket. A rotator cuff injury is an injury to the rotator cuff tendon. 

A rotator cuff injury is one of the most common types of shoulder injuries, but they are not something to stress about. At City Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists play a crucial role in helping individuals recover and rehabilitate from their rotator cuff injuries. 

Rotator Cuff Shoulder Injury can be painful in your shoulder

How do rotator cuff tear injuries occur? 


Rotator cuff injuries are most often caused by wear and tear of the shoulder tendons; hence the risk is greater for older people. Tears can vary in severity, depending on whether it is a full tear or partial tear. Risk factors for degeneration also include: 

  • Age – Wear and tear injuries become more common as you get older. 
  • Sports – Participating in some sports, such as tennis and golf, results in a greater risk of developing rotator cuff injuries because they require repetitive overarm motions.
  • Pre-existing shoulder injuries – Shoulder injuries or other existing shoulder problems can weaken the muscles in the shoulder and arm, thus increasing the risk of suffering a rotator cuff tear. 
  • Weakness in the shoulder – Weak muscles around the shoulder and upper arm can increase the risk of suffering a rotator cuff tear.
  • Non-dominant arm – Rotator cuff injuries are more likely to occur in your non-dominant arm because the muscles in that arm and shoulder are weaker. 

Shoulder Injury

A rotator cuff injury can arise from one single injury, instead of being a result of wear and tear over time. Tears from trauma are often a result of collision in a contact sport, or a fall. Commonly, a rotator cuff injury can occur when you dislocate a shoulder. Injury to the rotator cuff can also occur when suddenly falling on an outstretched hand, as the shock is sent up to the shoulder joint. 

What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear? 

Shoulder Pain 

As the rotator cuff is the set of muscles that keep the arm in the shoulder socket, when it becomes damaged it can become extremely painful to move your arm. You might notice pain while sleeping when pressure is applied to the shoulder – particularly if you are a side sleeper. You may also experience pain when lifting your arm up, limited mobility in the arm and shoulder, and muscle weakness in the arm. 

The Link Between Your Shoulder Injury and Headaches 

Another symptom you might not realise is related to your injury is headaches. Shoulder impingements can cause neck pain and headaches. 

As we outlined in this recent blog, The Connection Between Hip Flexor Tightness and Headaches, your body is connected a lot more than you may realise!  

When you’re injured or sore in one part of your body, it could be causing an issue in another part of your body. Your shoulders and your neck share the same muscles in the upper back. When your shoulder is injured, your upper back and neck muscles might be working overtime – causing a stiff neck. 

When you have a stiff neck, the upper neck joints are usually rigid and can refer pain through your nerves to your head – causing headaches and neck-related migraines. Stiff necks can cause a number of different problems that you might not even realise – read more here: Top 4 Symptoms Your Stiff Neck May Be Causing | City Physio.

City Physio Shoulder injury treatment and exercises in Adelaide CBD

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries at City Physiotherapy 

Shoulder Exercises  

The best treatment for rotator cuff tear is usually physiotherapy. This type of injury is usually accompanied by arm weakness, which can increase the risk of suffering from the shoulder injury. 

Many injuries can be safely treated without the need for surgery, and your physiotherapist at City Physio is here to help you strengthen your shoulder muscles and prevent injuries. 

Sports Rehab 

If your injury is acute and requires surgery, City Physiotherapy can refer you for medical imaging scans. We can refer you directly for X-rays, ultrasound scans with or without steroid injections and MRI. 

Post-surgery, we can help with your sports injury management and prevention of future injuries. Our sports physiotherapists provide hands-on physiotherapy treatment and advice on safe participation in sports. We offer exercise rehabilitation and promote an active lifestyle to help our patients improve or maintain their well-being. You can read more about City Physiotherapy’s Sports Physiotherapy and Injury Rehab services here: Sports Physiotherapy & Injury Rehab in the Adelaide CBD

We can also use taping and strapping to help limit your movement around the shoulder, helping to reduce or to control the pain of an injured or affected rotator cuff. Read more about it here: Sports Taping and Strapping Adelaide | City Physiotherapy

City Physio Shoulder injury treatment and exercises in Adelaide CBD

Contact City Physiotherapy Today 

If you are suffering from a rotator cuff injury, book an appointment with City Physio Adelaide to discuss your treatment and preventative treatment options. We can assess you to determine the exact source of your pain, the best treatments for you, and how to prevent and diminish further pain. 

Book an assessment of your shoulder from one of our physiotherapists online today! Start your journey towards recovery and wellness with City Physiotherapy Adelaide.

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