Rotator Cuff Therapy: 5 Exercises for Pain Relief
Unless you’re an athlete, you may not realize how often you use your shoulders. Overuse, misuse and accidents or injuries can cause damage the rotator cuff, and a rotator cuff injury can strike anyone, from parents who clean up after energetic kiddos to folks who love working in their yards.
When your rotator cuff aches, it’s wise to visit one of the knowledgeable doctors at our office. We can help you identify the root of your symptoms and make sure you get the care you need. In the meantime, these five exercises may alleviate your pain.
1) Lawnmower Pull
Pretending to mow your lawn is more enjoyable than mowing the real thing, especially if it’s cold and rainy outside. This exercise requires a resistance band, but you can also use a belt.
Start by standing with both feet shoulder-width apart. Wrap the resistance band below the foot on the opposite side of your sore shoulder. Grab the other end of the resistance band with your injured arm so the band is diagonal with your body.
Place your other hand on your hip. Bend carefully at the waist without locking your knees. Your injured arm should be parallel with the knee on the opposite side of your body.
Pretend you are starting a lawn mower, but do it slowly. Straighten your body, then pull your elbow all the way across your upper torso until you reach your outer ribs. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and then repeat twice. Do 10 sets of this exercise.
2) External Rotator Strengthening Exercise
Sometimes rotator pain occurs when the area is weak. This exercise will help you strengthen your shoulders, but you need an exercise band.
You can sit or stand for this exercise. Tie your exercise band to a door knob, or hold one end of the elastic tubing in each hand. Relax your shoulder, and then bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your upper arm is flat against your side.
Place your forearm across your stomach, and then slowly move your forearm away from your upper body. Keep your other arm flat against your side until your shoulder feels tight. Move your forearm back to its original position, then repeat approximately 10 times.
3) Reverse Fly
Be careful when doing the reverse fly. If it hurts to move your shoulder or you notice significant swelling, hold off until you meet with our healthcare team.
Begin with both feet placed shoulder-width apart, then bend your knees slightly. Hold your back upright, and then move forward, bending at the waist.
Hold a light training weight (or a household item, like a can of soup) in each hand. Hold out your arms, and then raise them in the air. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and do not lock your elbows. Make sure your arms remain at or below shoulder height.
Perform three sets of 10.
4) Scapular Retraction
The scapula, also known as your shoulder blade, keeps your shoulder stable. If your scapula gets too tight, it can cause pain or swelling. This exercise helps protect and enhance the range of motion for your scapula. It requires an elastic exercise band, but a belt may also work.
Start by wrapping your band around something sturdy, such as a heavy dresser, at waist level. Place one end of the band in each hand.
Bend your elbows 90 degrees at your sides. Move the exercise band back, pulling both shoulder blades together. Release, and then go back to your beginning position.
Perform this exercise approximately 10 times.
5) Wall Push-Ups for Scapular Protraction
An out-of-whack scapula can place excess pressure on your rotator cuff, which can cause some major pain. Wall push-ups help strengthen your shoulder blade so you can prevent and alleviate rotator cuff pain.
Start by standing approximately 12 inches away from a sturdy wall. Set your hands on the wall, making sure they match the height of your shoulders.
Bend your elbows and pull your face toward the wall. Keep your hips and back straight as you do this, and hold this position in place for a few seconds.
Return to your original position, and repeat this exercise approximately 10 times.
You can also try this exercise on a couch, counter or the floor. However, wait until you’ve mastered the wall push-up first, as this is easiest on your upper body.
What Else Can You Do for Rotator Cuff Pain?
When your rotator cuff gets injured, you may notice tingling, burning or shooting pain. Some patients describe the pain as excruciating, severe or constant. Left untreated, this pain may worsen or spread.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can treat shoulder pain with help from NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine, including:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Laser therapy
- Acupuncture therapy
- Range-of-motion exercises
- Ice or heat packs
Every patient receives a customized treatment plan from our experienced staff. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may notice immediate relief after just one appointment. However, we may recommend that you continue appointments until symptoms are fully resolved.
We also treat neck pain, back pain, leg pain, foot pain and just about any other type of pain you’re experiencing. We’ll discuss all of your symptoms during your first appointment and work with you and your existing healthcare team to develop the right course of action. You’re in good hands when you tackle your aches with help from NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine.
Give Your Shoulders Some TLC
A sore shoulder can make your favorite activities unbearable. At NorthEast Spine and Sports Medicine, we have great results treating shoulder injuries. Contact our skilled team today so we can help, whether you’ve got a frozen shoulder or a torn rotator cuff.
We participate in a variety of insurance plans, and cash patients are welcome as well. Our offices are open five days a week, and we see patients in multiple locations throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County. Our friendly team looks forward to helping you alleviate pain and feel your best!