Rotator cuff injury can cause extreme pain and restrict shoulder movements. Physical therapy in the form of exercises can help in healing and strengthening the shoulder muscles.
A group of muscles that help in stabilizing and moving the shoulder joint is collectively called the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff muscles are vital in maintaining shoulder stability and movement of the shoulder. It acts as a complete unit for moving the shoulder joint and it consists of four muscles, namely Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres minor. When there is damage to any of these muscles, its tendons or ligaments, due to overwork, injury or aging, a person might suffer from acute pain and restricted shoulder movements. This is known as rotator cuff injury.
The most common cause for rotator cuff injury is overuse of the shoulder muscles with repetitive movements. Other causes of rotator cuff injury include poor posture, tendinitis, bursitis, and strains and tears to the rotator cuff muscles. A person suffering from rotator cuff injury will have acute discomfort, pain and muscle weakness. Physical therapy helps in strengthening the shoulder muscles and your doctor might recommend them to you. Exercises for rotator cuff injury should be undertaken after discussing them with your doctor or physiotherapist. Exercises that involve lifting weights should be done with utmost caution so as not to over strain the muscles with sudden movement. Given below are a few exercises for shoulder pain due to rotator cuff injury which will help in strengthening the shoulder.
Best Workouts for Rotator Cuff Injury
Here are some exercises that will help in healing injured rotator cuff muscles.
Lying External Rotator
Lie down on your right side on an exercise mat. Hold a dumbbell on your left hand with your upper arm resting along the length of your body and your lower arm lying across your abs. Your left arm should be bend at a 90 degree angle. Now rotate your upper arm and lift the dumbbell in one seamless motion across your hips. Lower your arm to the initial position. While doing this exercise make sure that you do not bend your wrist or your elbow. Do 8-10 repetitions on each side.
Lie face down on an exercise bench and hold two weights in each hand. Your hands should be hanging straight down the sides of your body with the fingers pointing inwards. Slowly raise your arms upwards and forwards towards your body. Make sure that you keep your elbows straight and do not bend them at any stage of the exercise. Once your arms are level with the body, slowly lower arms to the initial position. Do 8-10 repetitions. If you experience pain in your shoulders while raising your arms, then you do not have to lift your arms to your body level.
To do this exercise stand straight on the floor and place your left palm over your right shoulder. Place the right hand over the elbow of the left hand and use the right hand to pull the left hand across the shoulders. Hold this position for a few seconds and lower your left hand slowly to the side. Repeat this exercise on the other arm and do 4-5 repetitions on each side.
Rotator Strengthening Exercise
Tie one end of an exercise band to a door or sturdy furniture at your waist height. Stand straight with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Hold the other end of the exercise band in your hand, keeping your elbows bend at 90 degrees, so that your forearm is parallel to the floor. To start the exercise hold the exercise band in your hand and orient your hand across your abdomen. Rotate your forearm away from the body, stretching the exercise band. Hold this position for a few seconds and bring forearm to the initial position. Do 8-10 repetitions.
Before undertaking any of these exercises, it is vital that you speak to your doctor or physical therapist. Strengthening your shoulder muscles gradually will help in healing the injury and regaining full movement of the shoulder.