All patients with shoulder pain are advised to rule out a rotator cuff disease. A patient must ask the physician to rule out a rotator cuff disease, as it is the most common and treatable cause of shoulder pain and impairment.

When to suspect a rotator cuff tear?

    • Occurs more often in a person's dominant arm
    • More commonly found among people older than 40 years
    • Pain usually worse at night and interferes with sleep
    • Worsening pain followed by gradual weakness
    • Decrease in ability to move the arm, especially out to the side
    • Deep ache in the shoulder also felt on the outside upper arm
    • Sudden tearing sensation followed by severe pain shooting through the arm
    • Motion limited by pain and muscle spasm
    • acute pain from bleeding and muscle spasm (often goes away in a few days)

    • When to call the doctor

      • In some cases, shoulder can be a symptom of other illnesses such as a heart condition. Pain from a rotator cuff problem is worsened with movement. If you have unexplained shoulder pain that is not affected by movement, you should call the doctor.
      • If shoulder pain lasts more than two days
      • If shoulder problems (pain) do not allow you to work
      • If you are unable to reach overhead to get an item in a cabinet above shoulder level, for example
      • If you are unable to play a certain sport such as baseball or engage in an activity such as swimming