Bicep Tendonitis Sprain VS Rotator Cuff Injury Sioux City

Bicep Tendonitis Sprain VS Rotator Cuff Injury Sioux City

Bicep sprains and supraspinatus sprains are very common in the shoulder. They commonly occur due to overuse, lifting, repetitive activities, or throwing motions. These muscles and tendons help stabilize the shoulder and allow it to go through its normal range of motion.  They are located very close to each other, and are often confused or misdiagnosed.



supraspinatus vs bicep tendinitis

Supraspinatus tendon vs bicep tendon

Supraspinatus Sprains
The supraspinatus is one of the four rotator cuff muscles. It starts on the top of the scapula and cuts underneath the bone, attaching to the humerus. It sets on the outside of your shoulder. Supraspinatus sprains tend to be very tender at this attachment site; pressure applied to the tendon produces pain.  It can be very painful at this spot, or the pain can radiate down towards the elbow. The pain is most intense when lifting or reaching above your head, such as reaching into a cabinet. During the early stages of the injury, the pain tends to be mild stiffness and soreness after exercise.  Moderate and severe cases produce sharp, stabbing pain shooting down from the shoulder towards the elbow. It can be very debilitating and can hinder your activity level.


bicep tendon location

Bicep tendon runs in a groove below the supraspinatus tendon

Bicep Sprains
The bicep muscle runs on the front of the arm. It has two heads that start near the shoulder. The long head of the bicep starts above the humerus on the top of the shoulder socket. A thin tendon runs several inches before it becomes the strong muscle of the bicep, which eventually attaches across the elbow. The short head of the bicep begins on the coracoid process of the scapula and joins the long head to form the biceps muscle.  The bicep enables us to flex the elbow and also the humerus. Think of a pull up motion – contraction of the bicep helps raise the torso towards the bar.


The long head of the bicep is often injured during heavy lifting activities or throwing motions. This muscle is very active, and is tied to many normal shoulder movements. Bicep tendinitis pain occurs more on the front of the shoulder. Again, it often starts as tenderness to the touch, or stiffness and mild soreness after exercise. As the injury gets worse, the pain becomes sharper and more severe. Eventually, sharp, stabbing pain radiates down the front of the bicep towards the elbow, especially with heavy lifting or throwing motions.


Causes of Shoulder Pain
All of these injuries can occur individually or together. They often occur alongside other risk factors that affect normal shoulder movements and mechanics, such as arthritis, labrum tears, chronic shoulder instability, or shoulder impingement.


Home Treatment
At home, the first line of treatment is always rest and ice. Apply ice to the injured muscles and tendons for 15 to 20 minutes to decrease pain and inflammation.  Repeat several times a day. Light stretching can also be incorporated. If the injury does not improve within two weeks, additional treatment may be needed; seek out medical attention from your family doctor.


Graston Technique on Shoulder

Graston Technique for Shoulder Pain

Treatment of Bicep and Supraspinatus Tendinitis
In our office, the treatment goals are to decrease pain and inflammation of the injured muscles and tendons. Appropriate examination and testing will determine which muscles and tendons have become injured and require treatment. Often, flexibility exercises and stretches will be utilized to enhance and restore normal shoulder flexibility.


Exercises will begin with simple weights or rubber bands used to create a small amount of resistance; all movements will be on a single plane of motion.  After meeting basic therapeutic and strengthening goals, shoulder stability exercises will be utilized. Shoulder stability exercises will involve exercise stability balls against the wall or floor, which challenges the shoulder stabilizers. As previously mentioned, many shoulder injuries are due to chronic shoulder instability or weakness. A series of exercises will start as simple and progress to very demanding. People will build up to performing push-ups on the exercise ball, which require more strength and balance than traditional pushups.


Deep muscle therapy can be incorporated into treatment to address muscle spasms, fascial adhesions, and scar tissue in the supraspinatus, teres, infraspinatus, bicep, rhomboid, and trapezius muscles.  Deep muscle massage therapy or Graston Technique on the shoulder will be utilized to enhance therapy and promote healing. Muscle spasms respond well to these treatments, which should speed your recovery.

Both supraspinatus and bicep tendinitis injuries can be effectively treated in the office.  Goals of treatment are more than just getting rid of the pain.  We work towards restoring normal shoulder flexibility, strength, and stability, and to reduce the likelihood of future shoulder injuries.