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Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Treatment Overview

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Treating rotator cuff tendonitis

Rotator cuff tendinitis can usually be treated at home with rest, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, and changing the activities you do until it feels better. Simple stretching and strengthening exercises can help lessen pain and increase movement in the joint.  Symptoms should start to improve within about 2–3 weeks, but they can take up to 3 months to completely go away.

Consider seeing a healthcare provider if your shoulder pain is not starting to go away after 2–3 weeks of home treatments.

See a doctor if you can’t lift your arm—you want to be sure that your rotator cuff tendon is not completely torn. Also see a doctor if you have sudden pain and loss of motion in the shoulder, which could mean you have frozen shoulder.

Go to the ER if you have any of these symptoms, which may be a sign of a more serious condition:

  • Pain radiating down the arm with chest heaviness
  • Severe pain and inability to move the shoulder
  • Sudden numbness and weakness in the arm
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