As the most flexible joint in the body, the shoulder is capable of performing a wide range of activities. However, with this incredible range of motion, it is at high risk for overuse and the joint is prone to tearing over time causing a great deal of pain. Since a rotator cuff injury stems from a ligament or muscle tear in the shoulder, improper posture and lifting, falling down, or repetitive strain on the shoulder can all lead to rotator cuff tears.
A rotator cuff tear is particularly common among those over the age of 40 since this is when collagen does not produce itself as fast in the body and calcium deposits settle in the shoulder joint though it can affect people of any age.
Treating a rotator cuff nonsurgically may be appropriate depending on the severity of the injury. In many cases, the best thing to do is administer RICE (rest from the activity causing the pain, apply ice to the injured area, compress the injured area, and elevate the injured area above the heart to limit blood flow).
When it hurts to sleep on the affected shoulder, lifting the arms is uncomfortable, the pain resides in the dominant arm or the affected shoulder continues to make noises, it is a good idea to have a doctor give you an examination.