Rotator Cuff Exercises Proven To Work

February 28, 2017

The predominant treatment for a rotator cuff injury includes some type of exercise therapy along with self-care measures. In fact with proper care a majority of these type injuries will mend fine on their own. Below are steps to follow if you believe you have injured your rotator cuff. Then we can answer the question "how do I strengthen my rotator cuff?"

The first thing is to stop doing whatever it was that caused the pain. Rest the shoulder and limit it's range of motion until it starts feeling a bit better - usually a couple days to a week.

Take pain relievers until pain improves. Use OTC (over-the-counter) NASIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

During the first two days apply ice on the shoulder every couple hours to reduce inflammation and pain. Use a cold pack or just wrap ice up in a towel and apply for around 20 minutes each time.

Once pain and inflammation have improved switch to heat to relax the muscles which may have become constricted and feel sore. Use a heating pad or hot packs for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Realize that inactivity will make your joints stiff and after a couple days some gentle exercises will help to limber them back up. Favoring your shoulder and not using it at all can cause it to freeze up where it becomes so stiffened you can hardly move it. The heat will help as you start to extend its range of motion a bit too.

As the injury heals and range of motion returns, continue to exercise. Doing stretches and regular rotator cuff exercises, along with a strength building program will help prevent a recurrence of a rotator cuff tear.

If you're already started seeing a therapist for symptoms, they will no doubt have discussed certain exercises to meet your particular needs.

Which ones will depend somewhat on the extent of your specific rotator cuff injuries, but their focus will be the shoulder muscles in the surrounding area, and improving their flexibility. In the case where some are dominant, the exercises will help create balance across different shoulder muscle groups.

Beyond rotator cuff exercises, other treatments for more serious injuries include steroid injections to relieve pain & inflammation, and various forms of surgery. A surgeon may do an open repair and mend a tear directly through a small six to ten centimeter incision, or do an arthroscopic procedure with the aid of a small camera inserted through another small incision.

More extensive surgical options would include partial or total shoulder replacement in the form of a ball and socket prosthesis. keep in mind this more involved surgical process is for extensive or repetitive shoulder injuries that have failed to heal using less invasive procedures. But for folks with difficult shoulder problems, including arthritis in the joint, and multiple muscle and tendon tears, the prosthesis approach may be best.

Remember that surgery often becomes necessary because injuries have been neglected. By finding the right answer to "how do I strengthen my rotator cuff?", and following through with this sort of therapy, a recurrence will be increasingly unlikely and you'll never has to deal with the surgery.

Posted by Jean Jayston