top of page

Managing your rotator cuff injury – No medications, no invasive procedures

Subacromial rotator cuff pain is a common condition that affects the muscles and tendons in the shoulder. It can cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion, which can greatly impact a person's quality of life. Fortunately, physical therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for subacromial rotator cuff pain.


In this blog post, we will outline the evidence-supported physical therapy treatments for subacromial rotator cuff pain and provide peer-reviewed references to support our recommendations.


Exercise Therapy for Rotator Cuff Pain and Injury


Exercise therapy is a crucial component of physical therapy treatment for subacromial rotator cuff pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, exercise therapy can improve pain and function in people with subacromial rotator cuff pain. The study found that participants who underwent exercise therapy experienced significant reductions in pain and improvements in shoulder function compared to those who did not exercise.



Exercise therapy for subacromial rotator cuff pain typically includes strengthening exercises for the shoulder muscles, as well as range of motion and flexibility exercises. Some examples of exercises that may be included in a physical therapy treatment plan for subacromial rotator cuff pain include:


- External rotation with resistance

- Scapular control muscle strengthening

- Mobility exercise focused on the neck and midback

- Shoulder strength training specific to functional demands (e.g., working on overhead strength/stability)


Manual Therapy for Rotator Cuff Pain and Injury



Manual therapy is a hands-on treatment technique that can be used to help reduce pain and improve function in people with subacromial rotator cuff pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, manual therapy can improve pain and range of motion in people with subacromial rotator cuff pain. The study found that participants who received manual therapy in addition to exercise therapy experienced greater improvements in pain and function compared to those who only underwent exercise therapy.


Manual therapy techniques that may be used to treat subacromial rotator cuff pain include:


- Joint mobilization

- Spinal mobilization and manipulation

- Soft tissue/myofascial mobilization

- Dry needling


Education and Lifestyle Modification for Rotator Cuff Pain and Injury


In addition to exercise therapy, manual therapy, and electromodalities, education and lifestyle modification are important components of physical therapy treatment for subacromial rotator cuff pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, education and lifestyle modification can help to improve pain and function in people with subacromial rotator cuff pain. The study found that participants who received education and lifestyle modification advice specific to their work, hobbies/activities, and lifestyle patterns in addition to exercise therapy experienced greater improvements in pain and function compared to those who only underwent exercise therapy.


Education and lifestyle modification advice that may be provided to people with subacromial rotator cuff pain include:



- Postural modification and body mechanics

- Modifications to daily activities to reduce undue stress on the shoulder

- Nutrition and exercise advice to support healing and overall health



In conclusion, physical therapy treatment for subacromial rotator cuff pain includes exercise therapy, manual therapy, and education and lifestyle modification. These evidence-supported treatments can help to improve your shoulder pain without having to turn to medications or invasive procedures.


Interested to see how we can help provide an individualized treatment plan for you? Shoot us a message or give us a call!

79 views

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page