Finding Relief From Tendonitis In Shoulder: Easy Exercises & Treatments

shoulder tendinitis

Shoulder tendinitis, also known as rotator cuff tendinitis occurs when the tendons in the rotator cuff start to wear down or thicken. These tendons play a crucial role in the strength needed to lift and rotate our arms. Once tendinitis kicks in, simple, everyday tasks become a painful challenge. If you find yourself in this discomforting situation, know that you’re not alone. This blog is tailored with your struggles in mind, aiming to deliver straightforward insights into shoulder tendinitis, its impact on your daily life, and practical solutions to overcome it.

Causes Behind Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Causes Behind Rotator Cuff TendinitisShoulder tendinitis is frequently a result of specific causes that impact the rotator cuff tendons. Recognizing these triggers is crucial for understanding and managing your condition effectively. Here are some common causes:

  • Overuse and Repetitive Movements: Prolonged and repetitive use of the shoulder, especially in activities like lifting or reaching overhead, can lead to tendinitis.
  • Age and Degeneration: As we age, wear and tear on the tendons become more likely, making older individuals more susceptible to rotator cuff tendinitis.
  • Incorrect Posture: Poor posture, whether at work or during daily activities, can contribute to the development of tendinitis in the shoulder.

Recognizing the causes is the first step, but it’s equally important to be aware of the symptoms associated with rotator cuff tendinitis. Watch out for:

  • Clicking or popping of the shoulder
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Persistent shoulder pain
  • Weakness in the shoulder
  • Swelling or tenderness in the shoulder area

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek attention promptly to initiate effective management strategies for your shoulder tendinitis.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Tendinitis

Diagnosis of Shoulder TendinitisWhen it comes to diagnosing shoulder tendinitis, an orthopedic specialist follows a thorough process to ensure accuracy and tailor the treatment plan to your specific needs. Here’s what you can expect during the diagnosis:

  • Evaluation of Symptoms: This involves understanding the nature and intensity of your shoulder discomfort, any limitations in movement, and additional signs that may point to tendinitis.
  • Physical Examination: A detailed examination of your shoulder and arm follows, where our specialists will check for areas of tenderness, swelling, and any unusual sounds or sensations during movement.
  • Medical History Inquiry: To gain a comprehensive understanding, a specialist will inquire about recent injuries, previous shoulder issues, and any underlying medical conditions that may contribute to tendinitis.
  • Imaging Tests for Precision: To confirm the diagnosis, imaging tests play a crucial role. These may include X-rays to capture a detailed view of the bones, MRI for a more comprehensive look at soft tissues, musculoskeletal ultrasound for real-time imaging, and CT scans for detailed cross-sectional views.

This meticulous diagnostic approach ensures that we pinpoint the exact nature and extent of your shoulder tendinitis.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Tendinitis

Treatment Options for Shoulder TendinitisDealing with shoulder tendinitis doesn’t always necessitate surgery. In fact, for most cases where there isn’t a tear in the rotator cuff, non-operative approaches can effectively manage tendinitis. Here are some key treatment options:

  • Rest and Activity Modification: Giving your shoulder the time it needs to heal is crucial. Resting the affected shoulder and modifying activities that exacerbate symptoms form the foundation of treatment.
  • Physical Therapy: Engaging in targeted physical therapy exercises is instrumental in rehabilitating the shoulder. These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles and improving flexibility to enhance overall joint function.
  • Medications for Pain Relief: Over-the-counter or prescribed medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections directly into the affected area may be recommended. These injections aim to provide localized relief by reducing inflammation.
  • Surgical Interventions: While surgery is typically reserved for more severe cases or those with a tear in the rotator cuff, it remains an option if conservative treatments prove insufficient. Surgical interventions aim to repair damaged tendons and restore optimal shoulder function.

Understanding that each individual’s case is unique, our approach to treatment is personalized, considering the specific factors influencing your shoulder tendinitis. This ensures that the chosen treatment plan aligns with your needs and maximizes the chances of a successful recovery.

Exercises for Relief from Shoulder Tendinitis

Finding relief from shoulder tendinitis involves incorporating targeted exercises into your routine. Here are some effective exercises that can help alleviate discomfort:

Pendulum Exercise

Pendulum Exercises for Relief from Shoulder Tendinitis

    • Bend forward at the waist, letting your arm hang down.
    • Swing your arm gently in a circular motion and forward/backward using your body.
    • Perform this exercise for several minutes, 3–5 times per day.

Arm Stretch

Arm Stretch for Shoulder Tendinitis

    • Sit or stand and use your unaffected arm to lift your affected arm at the elbow.
    • Bring it up and across your body, pressing gently above the elbow to stretch your shoulder.
    • Hold the stretch for 15–20 seconds, repeating 10–20 times per day.

Cross-Chest Shoulder Stretch

Cross-Chest Shoulder Stretch

  • Bring your affected arm across your chest.
  • Use your unaffected arm to gently pull the affected arm closer to your chest.
  • Hold the stretch for 15–20 seconds, repeating as needed.

Shoulder Extension & Flexion with Resistance Band

Shoulder Extension & Flexion with Resistance Band

  • Attach a resistance band to a fixed point.
  • Hold the band with one hand and extend your arm backward against resistance.
  • Then, flex your shoulder by pulling the band forward.
  • Repeat this motion for 10–15 repetitions on each arm.

Shoulder External & Internal Rotation

Shoulder External & Internal Rotation

  • Bend the elbow of the injured side at a 90° angle to face the fingertips forward.
  • Take care to avoid over-rotation and rotate the forearm (and shoulder) outward, aiming to reach a horizontal position parallel to the torso.
  • Hold this position at the end of the shoulder’s effective range of motion for a count before releasing the stretch.

Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine can contribute significantly to the management of shoulder tendinitis. However, it’s essential to perform them consistently and correctly. If you experience increased pain or discomfort, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before continuing these exercises.

Exercises to Avoid During Shoulder Tendinitis

Exercises to Avoid During Shoulder TendinitisWhile specific exercises can aid in your journey to recovery, it’s equally important to be cautious and avoid activities that may exacerbate shoulder tendinitis. Here are exercises to steer clear of:

  • Overhead Presses: Lifting weights directly overhead can strain the already sensitive tendons. Avoid exercises like military presses or lifting heavy objects above your head.
  • Bench Press: The bench press can put excessive stress on the shoulder joints. It’s advisable to skip this exercise until your tendinitis is fully resolved.
  • Behind-the-Neck Pull-Downs: Pulling weights down behind your neck can compromise the shoulder’s natural range of motion, potentially worsening tendinitis.
  • Upright Rows: Upright rows involve lifting weights close to your body, which can impinge on the shoulder tendons. Substitute with safer alternatives.
  • Front Raises: Raising weights in front of you can strain the shoulder tendons. Consider modifying this exercise or choosing alternatives.
  • Lateral Raises with Heavy Weights: Lifting heavy weights during lateral raises can place excessive stress on the shoulder joints. Opt for lighter weights and higher repetitions.
  • Dips: Dips can stress the shoulder joints, potentially aggravating tendinitis. It’s advisable to skip this exercise until your shoulder has fully healed.
  • Excessive Push-Ups: While push-ups are generally beneficial, doing too many can strain the shoulders. Modify the number or technique to avoid overexertion.

Remember, the key is to listen to your body. If any exercise causes pain or discomfort, it’s crucial to stop and reassess. Consult with a healthcare professional or a fitness expert to ensure your workout routine aligns with your recovery goals and doesn’t hinder the healing process.

Recovery Time from Shoulder Tendinitis

The timeline for recovering from shoulder tendinitis varies and is influenced by several factors, such as the type of surgery undergone, the severity of the condition, and individual long-term recovery goals.

At PhysioMantra, our dedicated orthopedic team, comprised of physical therapists, pain management specialists, and orthopedic experts, takes a comprehensive approach to craft customized rehabilitation plans tailored to your unique circumstances.

Your recovery journey is a collaborative effort, where you’ll work closely with our expert team for the duration of your rehabilitation.  Through carefully designed exercises and therapeutic interventions, physiotherapy becomes a valuable resource in ensuring a smooth and successful recovery from shoulder tendinitis.


In the journey through the complexities of shoulder tendinitis, understanding, and proactive management are key to a successful recovery. From identifying the causes to exploring treatment options, and from beneficial exercises to exercises that should be approached with caution, we’ve covered the essentials.

Recovery from shoulder tendinitis is a unique and personalized process.

If you’re experiencing Shoulder pain, physical therapy for shoulder pain at PhysioMantra can help with an online physical therapy session with PhysioMantra. Our team is here to provide the support and expertise you need to regain control over your shoulder health. Your journey to a pain-free and fully functional shoulder begins with a simple click. Take that step today.