The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint. Their tendons themselves pass through a narrow space before attaching to the humerus. If that space is compromised and symptoms occur we call this Shoulder Impingement Syndrome. Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is the most prevalent cause of shoulder pain. So how is this space compromised? Although structural changes should be considered, such as arthritis or specifically bone spurring, this is rarely the cause.
The shoulder joint is considered a ball-and-socket joint. It is freely movable, so it depends heavily on the muscles around it to keep it stable. With that being said, there are a couple of things to consider. Muscle dominance, tightness, or restriction will influence the position of the joint itself and how the shoulder moves. Also, a typical presentation of the shoulders are forward or rounded as it relates to poor posture. The space that the rotator cuff tendons anatomically pass through can be compromised for both of these reasons.
Faulty movement, posture, lack of scapular stability, and muscle imbalance impact the normal function of the shoulder. These issues should always be addressed when shoulder issues are present. They are most likely the reason that symptoms began in the first place. So before you look to mask the symptoms, with passive strategies, such as ice or medication, consider you are only ignoring the messenger. Your body is only telling you something is wrong. It wants to be fixed, otherwise it will only keep reminding you.