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Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Rotator cuff tendinitis is inflammation of the tendons in your shoulder joint. A tendon is a cord of tough tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. The rotator cuff is made up of a group of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder joint in place.
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Steroids: This medicine may be injected into the rotator cuff area to decrease inflammation and pain.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or orthopedist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Rest: Limit activity on your affected shoulder to decrease stress on the tendon. This may help prevent further damage, decrease pain, and promote healing.
- Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
- Shoulder position: Keep your shoulder in the correct position so it will heal faster. This may be done by increasing the height of armrests while you work, drive, and sit. Try not to sleep on the side of your injured shoulder. If you are a woman, wear a sports bra so that the straps are closer to your neck. This may help decrease stress in the affected shoulder.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. The exercises may help you move your shoulder normally again and strengthen your rotator cuff. You may also learn other exercises, such as stretching and strengthening of your shoulder muscles. You may learn changes to make to your daily activities that will help decrease stress on your tendons.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or orthopedist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have pain and swelling in your shoulder even after you take pain medicine.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- Your symptoms are not getting better or are getting worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have sudden shortness of breath or chest pain.
- Any part of your arm is numb, tingly, cold, blue, or pale.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.