Rotator cuff pain: The case of Ben B.

Arm pain, Chronic pain, Rotator cuff, Shoulder pain / Thursday, May 21st, 2009

A fit and trim 58 year old man came in to my Neuromuscular Therapy center outside of Boston because his tennis game was suffering! Pain and restricted range of motion in his shoulder were slowing him down. He was told by a teammate that therapy for his muscles might help.

The pain in Ben’s upper arm was also beginning to be a distraction at work. In his daily life, he had trouble reaching behind him to put on a jacket and felt clicking when reaching up. Sharp pains rolling over in bed awoke him and also occurred with certain movements or with sudden motion.

These practical matters were annoying and becoming a concern, but his tennis game … that was serious! This was his playing arm and he was having real trouble serving and doing backhands, going across his body and powering back out. Not only that, golf season was coming and his stroke was so short he wouldn’t be able to get any distance!

This kind of rotator cuff pain is an overuse injury and very common among recreational athletes. Ben’s condition had progressed so far that without treatment he was headed toward “frozen shoulder.” His range of motion was severely restricted and pain was increasing.