To alleviate rotator cuff pain, physicians recommend beginning with steps at home, including resting the affected shoulder, refraining from activities and postures aggravating pain, using heating pads or ice packs and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. With rotator cuff injuries, home remedies typically suffice for alleviating pain and swelling. The appropriate remedy and length of treatment vary depending on the severity of the injury; if home remedies prove ineffective after several days, patients typically visit their physicians for further action, including prescription painkillers and sometimes surgery.
Rotator cuff disorders generally arise from overuse and repetitive activities, like swimming, golfing and tennis. With overuse, inflammation and pain develops and worsens without corrective action. According to WebMD, experts recommend giving the affected shoulder time to rest following the onset of rotator cuff pain. However, they encourage minimal, gentle movement. This retains some flexibility and increases blood flow and circulation, which in turn reduces swelling. Gentle movements include using the arm for daily, non-strenuous tasks but avoiding extreme motions, such as lifting the arm over the head. As pain and swelling subside, patients gradually increase the amount of shoulder use, eventually working towards full range of motion. Taking time off from tennis or other aggravating activities helps, as does applying ice two or three times daily for the first 48 hours. Then, people switch to heating pads after three to five days, also applying warmth two or three times daily.