top of page

rotator cuff induced shoulder pain

Just imagine this: Austin Mathews (yes, we’re leafs fans) is coming down the ice to score in the last minute of the Leafs game, you bring your arms up to cheer and- pain and weakness stop you from bringing your arm up to 90 degrees. Why is this happening? Why does the pain only happen just before 90 degrees but alleviate when you get past that point? Read along to find out.

The shoulder is surrounded by 4 muscles to produce the movements of the shoulder which together are called the rotator cuff. Of these muscles, the supraspinatus is the main muscle responsible for raising your arm up beside you up to 90 degrees. When there is an issue with the muscle, including a tear or improper biomechanics, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Pain or weakness up to 90 degrees

  • Aggravated in overhead activities (ex. Washing hair, taking off a sweater)

  • Clicking 

The supraspinatus muscle inserts onto the top of the humerus, the upper arm bone which connects to the shoulder. The tendon of this muscle must pass through a tight spot under the acromion to get to its insertion. This tight spot is a leading cause of pain and potential tearing. This can be due to improper biomechanics which can make this spot even tighter, causing pinching of the tendon. Improper biomechanics includes inadequate rotator cuff muscle function as well as the muscles that move the shoulder blade to allow for space under the acromion during movement. 

Improper muscular biomechanics means weakness in the muscles leading to them not being able to perform their functions to protect the shoulder. To fix this weakness, strengthening of these muscles must take place. First, it is important to practice proper posture, including setting the shoulders down and back when completing daily tasks. This will allow the proper function of the shoulder muscles and create enough space during movement. Along with considering posture, specific strengthening exercises are important as well. These include:

  • Prone T’s

  • Single arm rows

  • Single arm shoulder extensions

  • External rotations

  • Yoga block squeeze

  • Belly press

These exercises will both strengthen the muscles which functions are to keep the shoulder down and back as well as the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. Check out our Insta post on March 21, 2024 to see how to perform these exercises!

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page