Rotator Cuff Injury: Symptoms, Treatment, and Exercises

Posted by MVMT Team

Shoulder injuries are common. In fact, shoulder injuries make up over 18% of all injuries in older adults according to Stats Canada. A rotator cuff injury happens to be one of the most common types of shoulder injury as well.

A rotator cuff injury is usually caused by a tear or strain to the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of the muscles, joint capsule, and tendons that stabilizes our shoulders. The injury involves a tear or strain to the rotator cuff tendons or the thick bands of tissue which connect the muscles to our bones.

The supraspinatus tendon is the site where the tear is most likely to occur. Several of your muscles and tendons will tear due to severe injuries.

Common Symptoms

The common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are tenderness and pain in your shoulder area when raising your arm as well as pain when you sleep on the side affected.

By testing the range of movement and shoulder strength together with special directed tests, the doctor may be able to tell which muscle or tendons are torn. There are cases when this kind of tears can be without symptoms. The tears can be full or partial thickness and comes as part of a degenerative process or resulting from injury.

Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment

The treatment for rotator cuff injury includes addressing the pained area and restoring its best possible function. The easiest way to do so is refraining from doing any aggravating activity, avoid taking anti-inflammatory medicines, and by doing physical therapy and special exercises. In worst cases, surgery is needed.

Easy Exercises for Rotator Cuff Injury Recovery

When the swelling dies down and your arms are no longer painful, you can try these exercises to prevent a frozen shoulder and help you heal faster.

Doorway Stretch – as the exercise suggests, you perform this exercise by standing in a doorway by holding both sides of the frame at shoulder height or just below it. Now gently lean forward while keeping your back straight and feeling that light stretch on your shoulders. You can lean forward a bit more to create more stretch but there should be no pain. Go back to standing position and repeat at least three times.

Doorway Stretch

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Sleeper Stretch – lay on your right and your head should be supported by a pillow or foam roller. Bend your knees slightly. Next, bend your right arm perpendicular to the floor. Your right elbow should be touching the floor and your forearm should be pointing upwards. Gently press your right forearm toward the floor with your left arm until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold the position for about 5 seconds, slowly release and repeat with the other side.

Sleeper Stretch

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Crossover Arm Stretch – begin by standing with your feet hip width apart and then lift your right arm so it becomes perpendicular to the floor. Extend it straight. Bend your left arm to hold your right elbow and gently push the extended right arm towards your body. Hold it for 5 seconds before releasing. Then repeat on the other side.

Crossover Arm Stretch

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Dealing with rotator cuff injury can be challenging, but note that you are not alone. You can always seek help. Physiotherapy is one way of expediting your full recovery. Ask our experts today for a free consultation and learn from our experienced and certified healthcare specialists

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