A rotator cuff disorder causes pain and weakness in your shoulder. It may be uncomfortable or impossible to do everyday activities, such as combing your hair, tucking in your shirt, or reaching above your head.
Most often, you will feel the pain on the side and front of your upper arm and shoulder. You may have pain during the night and have trouble sleeping on that side. Pain is almost always worse when you make overhead movements.
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Because of the pain, you may try not to use your arm. And that can cause even more weakness and stiffness in the shoulder.
The amount of pain usually depends on how much damage there is:
Minor damage. Pain most often occurs only when you are active and is usually relieved with rest.
Moderate damage. You will likely notice pain both during and after activity. Pain may also occur at night, especially when you lie on your shoulder.
Severe damage. You may have continuous pain.
Sometimes the pain isn't directly related to the amount of damage. For example, your rotator cuff may have minor damage, but strength and the loss of range of motion may be severe because it's too painful to move in certain ways. This is especially true if you normally make a lot of overhead movements.