A rotator cuff injury is one of the most common issues faced by athletes and hardcore fitness enthusiasts. A rotator cuff is a group of muscles surrounding your shoulder joint and stabilizing the top of your upper arm bone. In other words, your rotator cuff helps you move your arm freely in all directions.
There are two types of rotator cuff injuries: a tear or an impingement. A tear involves ripping a muscle or tendon in your rotator cuff. It is severely disabling and will require restoration. Impingement is when a rotator cuff muscle becomes swollen and reduces the space between your arm and shoulder bones.
Regardless of the type of injury, physical therapy exercises can help you recover faster and reduce pain. We recommend that you speak to an experienced physical therapist before attempting to do any exercises, but here are five of the best exercises for rehabbing a rotator cuff injury.
Shoulder Exercises for a Rotator Cuff Injury
A rotator cuff injury can lead to dull pain in the shoulder, making it difficult to sleep peacefully or carry out your daily activities. The following physical therapy routines are effective in aiding the relief and recovery of rotator cuff injuries.
Standing Row Pose - You will need a stretching band for this exercise. Attach the band to a sturdy object. Face the band and pull it by standing back. Hold it in your hand and start bending your injured arm at the elbow, then pull it back down. Repeat the motion several times as instructed by your physical therapist.
Isometric Pose - Also known as static exercise, this movement involves placing the palm of your injured side against a solid object, such as a wall or a door. Then push against the object until you start to feel pain. Since this exercise doesn’t require movement, you can perform it within a week of your injury, if you’re not in any pain.
External Rotation Pose - This exercise aims to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles and help you gain back your range of motion. For this exercise, bend the elbow of your injured arm to a 90-degree angle and keep your upper arm close to your chest. Start moving your forearm from one side to the other. Continue doing this maneuver until you start feeling a little pressure on your shoulder. You can also use a lightweight dumbbell to increase the resistance.
Pendulum Pose - The pendulum exercise can increase the mobility of your shoulder. Stand and place your uninjured arm on a still surface, such as a railing or table, then bend it slightly. Now, swing your injured limb in front of you in slow circular movements. Start with making small circles and gradually increase the size of the loops.
Crossover Arm Pose - Relax your shoulders and start stretching your injured arm across your torso to the other side. Hold it with your other uninjured arm. Stay in this position until you feel a slight pressure in your muscles, and then repeat.
Additional Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries
In addition to these exercises, you can also alternate applying a warm compress and an ice pack to your injury. The best method for treating a rotator cuff injury is to discuss the issue with an expert physical therapist who has experience in sports medicine and physical therapy. This consultation will ensure you receive the appropriate care immediately and don’t suffer any further damage.
Precision Pain Care and Rehabilitation has four convenient locations in Richmond Hill – Queens and New Hyde Park, Lindenhurst, and Valley Stream – Long Island. Call the Queens office at (718) 215-1888, or (516) 419-4480 for the Long Island offices, to arrange an appointment with our Interventional Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Chacko.