Injury to rotator cuff
Rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons that connect the upper arm bone and the shoulder blade. They together make the shoulder stable, but are also important for every movement of the shoulder. Injuries to the rotator cuff are very frequent, since they can occur due to poor posture, falling, lifting or pulling something that is too heavy, repetitive stress or actions that require the use of arm (particularly those overhead). Trained athletes such as swimmers and tennis players, are prone to this kind of injury, but painters, for example, also suffer from rotator cuff injury because of the position of their arm. It is also important to mention that people who are over 40 are at higher risk or experiencing this condition due to the normal wear and tear of the rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff therapy
Rotator cuff therapy is usually aimed at decreasing the pain (and swelling, if present), improving flexibility and strengthening the muscles. There is a special program that consists of weight training and stretching exercises that involve the joints of shoulders. Besides the fact that they help in strengthening the muscles and adding flexibility to them, they also improve the circulation in that area, which speeds up the healing process. Some exercises that are a part of this program are to be described:
- Exercise 1 is good for warming up the muscles of the rotator cuff and requires bending at the waist and letting the hands hang down, while the arms and shoulders need to be kept loose and relaxed. Then arms should be lifted slowly while counting until 3, and then lowered while counting up to six.
- Exercise 2 is done while lying on the stomach. The left arm should be moved straight up to the level of the shoulder, and then bent at the elbow in order for the hand to be in downward direction. The hand should be raised until in the same level as the shoulder. It is recommended to do this on a bed, but if pain is felt at any moment, the exercise should be stopped.
- Exercise 3 is a part of the weight training and at the beginning, only light weights should be used. The weight should be increased gradually from one week to another. As for the weight trainings, they should be continued as long as no tiredness in arms is present.