Trigger Point Therapy for Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Posted by Stuart Hinds on

Vacuum Cupping - General Shoulder Sequence


Rotator cuff tendinitis results from the irritation and inflammation of the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles in the area underlying the acromion.

The condition is sometimes known as pitcher’s shoulder though it is a common injury in all sports requiring overhead arm movements, including tennis, volleyball, swimming and weightlifting.



Rotator Cuff Tendinitis Trigger Points



Cause of injury

Inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons from tennis, baseball, swimming etc. Irritation of the subacromial bursa of the rotator cuff causing inflammation and swelling in the subacromial space. Pre-existing disposition including anatomical irregularity.


Signs and symptoms

Weakness or pain with overhead activities, such as brushing hair, reaching up etc. Popping or cracking sensation in the shoulder. Pain in the injured shoulder, particularly when lying on it.


Complications if left unattended

Rotator cuff tendinitis can worsen without attention as the tendons and bursa become increasingly inflamed.

Motion becomes more limited and tendon tears can cause further and in some cases chronic pain.

Prolonged irritation may result in the production of bone spurs which contribute to further irritation.


Immediate treatment

Application of ice and use of anti-inflammatory medication. Discontinue all athletic and other activity causing rotator cuff pain. Then heat to promote blood flow and healing.


Rehabilitation and prevention

Following rest and healing of the injured shoulder, physical therapy should be undertaken to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff.

Moderation of rotator cuff use, adequate recovery time between athletic activities and strength training can all help avoid the injury.


Long-term prognosis

Given proper rest as well as manual therapy and trigger point therapy (see below), most people will enjoy a full recovery from this injury.

Should a serious tear of the rotator cuff tissue occur, surgery may be required although recovery to pre-injury levels of activity is usually expected.


Trigger Points

Trigger points form easily in the muscles of the rotator cuff and, as they make their host muscles shorter and weaker, they may well play a part in the development of the injury.

More importantly, active trigger points will almost certainly appear as a result of the injury, as part of the body's natural protect and defend mechanism.

Failure to treat these trigger points may result in the symptoms of the injury lasting longer or the onset of further complications.



NAT Clinical Vacuum Cupping Course (10 CPE Points) 

Treating Frozen Shoulder NAT Foundation Course (10 CPE Points)

The Complex Shoulder NAT Master Course (10 CPE Points)



About the author

Stuart Hinds is one of Australia’s leading soft tissue therapists, with over 27 years of experience as a practitioner, working with elite sports athletes, supporting Olympic teams, educating and mentoring others as well as running a highly successful clinic in Geelong.

Stuart has a strong following of practitioners across Australia and globally who tap into his expertise as a soft-tissue specialist. He delivers a range of highly sought after seminars across Australia, supported by online videos, webinars and one-on-one mentoring to help support his colleagues to build successful businesses.

In 2016, Stuart was awarded a lifetime membership to Massage & Myotherapy Australia for his significant support and contribution to the industry.


This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 


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