May 2014

Disorders of the rotator cuff and the tissues around it are the most common causes of shoulder pain in people over 40 years of age. Some rotator cuff disorders are: tendinitis and tendinosis, shoulder impingement and rotator cuff tears. Rotator cuff pain occurs when a shoulder tendon (a bundle of fibers connecting muscle to bone) is irritated and becomes sore. Rotator cuff tendinitis can occur when performing a new activity (painting, cleaning gutters) and is an inflammation of the tendon. Prolonged stress to the tendon can cause a breakdown in the tendon called tendinosis which is a chronic, long term condition from repeated stress to the tendon. Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendon becomes thickened due to prolonged stress or inflammation and is a sharp pain with movements that pinch the tendon. Rotator cuff tears occur from break down of the muscles of the rotator cuff or of the tendon as it attaches to the arm.


What causes rotator cuff disorders (tendinitis, tendinosis, impingement, tears)?

The rotator cuff muscles are a group of 4 muscles that attach the humerus (upper-arm bone) to the scapula (shoulder blade). The rotator cuff muscles help raise, rotate, and stabilize the upper arm. Causes of rotator cuff disorders include:

  • Poor posture, such as rounded shoulders caused by leaning over a computer for long periods of time.
  • Repetitive arm movements, such as those performed by a hair stylist or painter.
  • Overhead shoulder motions, such as those performed by baseball pitchers or swimmers.
  • Tight muscles and tissues around the shoulder joint.
  • Weakness and muscle imbalances in the shoulder blade and shoulder muscles.
  • Bony abnormalities of the shoulder region that cause the tendons to becomepinched (shoulder impingement syndrome).
  • Neck and upper back stiffness.  
How does Rotator Cuff symptoms feel?

Rotator cuff pain is characterized by pain at the top of the shoulder that can occur gradually over time or start quite suddenly, and can sometimes radiate into the upper arm. At rest, you may be symptom free or have a mild, dull ache, however pain can be moderate to severe with certain shoulder movements. Reaching behind the body to perform a motion, as in fastening a seat belt, can be very painful. So can overhead activities, such as throwing, swimming, reaching into a cupboard, or combing your hair. The pain can worsen at night, especially when rolling over or attempting to sleep on the painful side. You may notice weakness when lifting and reaching for household items. Holding a heavy platter or taking a pan off the stove may become difficult.


How Is It Diagnosed?

A physical therapist will perform an evaluation and ask you questions about the pain and other symptoms you are feeling. Your therapist may perform strength and motion tests on your shoulder, ask about your job duties and hobbies, evaluate your posture including your mobility of neck and upper back joints, and check for any muscle imbalances and weakness that can occur between the shoulder and the scapular muscles. Your physical therapist will gently touch your shoulder in specific areas to determine which tendon or tendons are inflamed, and special tests may need to be performed to determine this.


How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

It is important to get proper treatment for rotator cuff pain as soon as it occurs. A degenerated tendon that is not treated can begin to tear causing a more serious condition. Physical therapy can be very successful in treating tendinitis, tendinosis, shoulder impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tears. You will work with your physical therapist to devise a treatment plan that is specific to your condition and goals. 


Can this Injury or Condition be Prevented?

Rotator cuff pain can be prevented by:

  • Maintaining proper shoulder and spinal posture during daily activities, including sitting at a computer.
  • Performing daily stretches to the shoulder and upper back to maintain normal movement. Tightness in the upper back, or a rounded shoulder posture will decrease the ability to move your torso, and that makes the shoulder have to work harder to perform everyday activities, such as reaching for objects.
  • Keeping your upper body strong, including the upper back and shoulder-blade muscles will help prevent pain. Many people work the muscles in their chest, arms, and shoulders, but it is also important to work the muscles around the shoulder blade and upper back. These muscles provide a strong foundation for your shoulder function. Without a strong foundation, muscle imbalances occur and put the shoulder at risk for injury.
Physical Therapy can help you avoid painful rotator cuff injuries.

 Set an appointment today. 



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        Cyndi Jensen - May 23

Jenn Berry Runs the 2014 Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is one of the most well known marathons in the world. Jenn Berry, one of PTIS' physical therapists, took part in this year's historic race. Read about Jenn's experience in her own words:


After the events that unfolded last year, this year's race became one of the biggest, most watched days in running history.  I was incredibly lucky to be able to participate in the marathon this year.  Two years ago, long before the bombings of 2013, I began training for my first marathon with the hopes of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon this year.  Even though my marathon experience is relatively limited, I have run many races and this year's Boston Marathon will stand alone.  Everything about the weekend was amazing.
The city was buzzing with energy all weekend.  Walking around the city in the days before the race there was a sense of pride in the runners, volunteers, spectators and law enforcement personnel. People were standing tall, they were smiling and everyone was incredibly kind and respectful. It made me so proud to be a part of the running community.The day before the race I walked down Boylston Street to the finish line.  Nearby there was a small memorial at the site of the first bomb to the 4 people who died last year. There was a quiet sense of excitement in the air.  Everyone seemed eager for the race.  
The Boston Marathon is unique in that it doesn't start until 10am.  Runners board buses early in the morning to travel to the start in the small town of Hopkinton.  The crowd support of the race was like nothing else I have ever seen.  In every marathon I have run previously, there are stretches of the course, sometimes miles long, where there are very few spectators.  Almost the entire route from Hopkinton to Boston was filled with people.  Even the walk from the buses to the start was lined with people.  Everyone was in a good mood.  Spectators were cheering, holding signs, and waving American flags.  
Throughout the racerunners were polite to each other saying excuse me and signaling when they needed to pass or move to the side to get water. Security was everywhere but all of the police officers seemed happy and proud and the security never interfered with the experience of the race.  The day could not have gone any better. 
Runners and non-runners know the power of the Boston Marathon. It is the longest running marathon in the world; this year was the 118th running of the race.  Some of the best runners in the world have run down this course over the years and this year was no exception.  American Meb Keflezighi won the men's race making him the first American winner of the race since 1983.  For me and for many others, the day brought a sense of completion to the race that began last year and was interrupted by an act of senseless violence.  I have never been more proud to be a part of the running community and I feel privileged to have been able to run in such a historic race.  And in case you are wondering, my bib number was 8533 and I finished in 3:03:57. Woohoo!

Shoulder Strength





30 Days to Stronger Shoulders
Your shoulders carry the weight of the least that's what it feels like sometimes.  Give them the attention so that they can perform for you when you need them.
My daily routine: 
get up, 
be amazing, 
go back to bed.
Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups


We all have a mother or know a mother. This Mother's Day, make the day special by surprising her with this creative dish. Full of protein, calcium, and..who doesn't love bacon!

Thank you for your interest in health and wellness. We believe Staying Active is important for WORK.SPORT.LIFE.

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