What is the Rotator Cuff and Why it is Important

Do you experience pain while lifting and lowering your arm or while performing specific movements?


This could indicate rotator cuff injury and we will highly recommend you to visit a Gray Method practitioner to get it diagnosed.


However, if you are not sure what the rotator cuff injury is and why it is important to the stability and daily functioning of your shoulder, this article is for you.


Let’s get started.


What is the Rotator Cuff?


A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and the tendons associated with them across the shoulder joint.


The four muscles associated with the rotator cuff include – infraspinatus, teres minor, supraspinatus, and subscapularis.


As the name indicates, the rotator cuff impacts the dynamicity of your shoulder and helps it to rotate. While the bigger muscles like pectorals, lats, and deltoids control gross movements around the shoulders, the rotator cuff helps in stabilizing these movements.


The Importance of Rotator Cuff


The rotator cuff is responsible for exerting a downward and compressive force on the shoulder joint. Both these forces ensure that the head of the humerus (the bone that forms the joint at the shoulder) stays in the correct position.


Additionally, a rotator cuff provides the shoulder joint with the much-needed stability so that it can perform a range of motions and movements effortlessly.


However, your rotator cuff might get fatigued from excessive use, lack of endurance and weakness. All these conditions could interfere with the stability of the shoulder joint and make it unstable.


This often leads to pain, inflammation, and an injury, if not treated correctly.


Not only this, but weak rotator cuff could also give rise to various underlying conditions like – rotator cuff tendinitis, shoulder impingement, biceps tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, and sub-acromial bursitis.


Shoulder physical therapy involves treatment of the rotator cuff
Anterior view of the shoulder anatomy. Digital illustration.


The Common Rotator Cuff Injuries


Inflammation and tears in the rotator cuff are two common conditions.


Both these conditions are a result of repetitive stress over a period of time. And is often related to work-related exhaustion. Sportspeople, particularly athletes who play tennis or throwing sports like cricket and baseball are more prone to developing rotator cuff injuries.


However, injuries to the rotator cuff could also be caused due to heavy lifting. A dislocated shoulder could be another reason which can cause a torn rotator cuff.


Symptoms of an Injured Rotator Cuff


The common symptoms of an injured rotator cuff include:


• Weakness
• Stiffness
• Shoulder pain in the front or back of the shoulder
• Pain while lifting arms


However, you might not experience any of these symptoms, but it is still recommended to incorporate rotator cuff strengthening in your workout regime.


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Healing a Torn Rotator Cuff without Surgery


Although your doctor might recommend surgery for your torn rotator cuff, it can be treated non-surgically as well. Physical therapy coupled with anti-inflammatory medication could provide you with the needed relief.


The ultimate aim of these treatments is to restore the strength of your injured shoulder and relieve pain.


A physical therapist will recommend certain exercises tailored to the specific location of your injury.


To learn more, and to schedule an appointment with our physical therapists, contact us today.



Free Report Reveals….. 5 Simple Ways of Overcoming A Shoulder or Rotator Cuff Injury Without Surgery, Resting, or Taking Painkillers


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About Author: Dr. Scott Gray


Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist specializing in sport, athletic, and back and neck injuries. He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. For more information on how to ease or overcome your injury, go to



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