Rotator Cuff Repetitive Strain Injuries/ Impingement of the Shoulder

Rotator Cuff Repetitive Strain Injuries


A painful shoulder which hurts when the arm is lifted is very common.  The pain can range from very mild and slightly irritating to very severe and debilitating affecting mobility and even disturbing sleep when the shoulder is laid on.  The pain is usually located over the top of the shoulder (see photo below) but can extend down the top of the arm or up the side of the neck.  This is very commonly a repetitive strain of the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder.  There are four rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder and they support the arm and move the arm in various different directions.  They are not particularly big or strong so are susceptible to overuse injuries.  These injuries are often caused by working with the arm over the head or repetitively moving the arm away from the body.  Due to this, manual workers are often greatly affected by this condition.  Trades such as painter and decorators (reaching up to paint ceilings), electricians (wiring and changing lights), scaffolders (reaching up to connect the poles) and hairdressers (arms held aloft a lot of the day cutting and colouring hair).


Sometimes these repetitive strains can get to a point where they cannot support the shoulder properly and the mechanics of the shoulder start to get affected.  The top of the arm makes up the ball of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder and when this is moving around in the joint too much, it can cause an impingement.  Impingement syndrome can be extremely painful and can cause the movements of the arm to become very restricted.  Sometimes these injuries can be so bad that they can resemble a frozen shoulder but fortunately very few impingements go on to develop into frozen shoulder.  If treated promptly, the pain and restrictions often start to disappear quite quickly.


Osteopaths use very specific orthopaedic tests to ascertain which muscles are involved and to grade the level of damage and subsequent weakness.  Armed with this information, we are able to treat the relevant muscles as well as articulate the shoulder to improve the mobility of the joint.  We also treat the neck and upper back because if there are any problems in these areas, they will also affect the mechanics of the shoulder and make the situation a great deal worse.  Once the mobility is restored and the pain has dissipated, we devise stretches and rehab exercises to return them to health and to help prevent the injury from returning in the future.




After diagnosing what was causing the pain in my shoulder, Sue quickly removed the worst of the pain.  Further treatments and suggested exercise fully healed what had been a long term injury. I would definitely use and recommend Sue in the future”

Chris Elmore

Painful Shoulder

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Lordswood Osteopathic Clinic

The Lords wood Osteopathic Clinic was established and is run by Sue Jennings, BSc (Hons), Osteopath. The Lordswood Osteopathic Clinic is situated on the ground floor of Lordswood Leisure Centre, North Dane Way, Chatham, with plenty of free parking and disabled access. The clinic is open during the daytime on Monday to Friday, evening appointments available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings. Lordswood Osteopathic Clinic staff are all registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).