5 Simple Rehab Exercises for Rotator Cuff Injury

Our rotator cuff is made up of muscles, tendons and ligaments which hold the shoulder blade firmly with the humerus. Our shoulder joint is one of the most heavily used joint in the whole body and this place the shoulder at a high injury risk. Rotator cuff injuries can commonly happen to people who are actively in sports or use the shoulder heavily. Exercises are an integral form of treatment for someone suffering from Rotator Cuff injuries. It is also often the first form of treatment that most doctors will prescribe to patients and only when it fails will he recommend surgery.

Shoulder blade stretch

Shoulder blade stretching can be performing either standing up or in a seated position. Reach across your chest with both arms and try to hold onto the opposite shoulder blade. You should be able to feel a tight stretch at both shoulders and hold in the position for 15 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 3 sets of 10.

Shoulder elevation

Stand in an upright position with both arms at the side and keeping the elbows straight. Slowly lift up your arms forward to 70 degrees while ensuring that the elbows are still kept straight. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Shoulder rotation

Lie down on the floor on one side of your body and use the hand on the opposite side and bend the elbows 90 degrees. Slowly rotate the shoulder in an upwards direction. You should be able to feel the pressure at the shoulder blade lessening. Continue the rotation for 3 sets of 10 and switch sides.

Bicep curls

Start off with a light weight dumbbell in your hands and slowly bring them up in an alternating manner until you feel a very tight stretch in the biceps and hold in the position for 10 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position and switch hands. Perform 3 sets of 15.

Prone Horizontal Abduction

Lie down on your stomach with your hands by the sides. Slowly extend both arms outwards in a parallel manner and until you can feel a tight strain. Hold in the position for 10 seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.

Rehab exercises may seem boring and you will not feel motivated to perform them. However, their main purpose is to increase flexion and extension, as well as to strengthen the shoulder. Strong muscles are important if surgery is required in the future and it can help to lessen the recovery period.

The Recovery Process After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Shoulder pain is a common problem experienced by many people, with a tear in the rotator cuff the most common reason for it. They are extremely painful and restrict your movement greatly. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons which comprises of four muscles and they hold your arm in a ball and socket joint, which allows your shoulder to rotate around and move with ease. The tendons can be torn through injuries. Rotator cuff surgery is the most commonly done procedures around the world, with over 250000 done in the United States of America annually.

After the surgery has completed, the patient will be taken to a recovery room for a couple of hours. The injured arm will be in a protective sling or even a shoulder immobilizer to prevent any movements. Depending on the type of surgery, arthroscopic surgery patients will be discharged on the same day while open surgery patients will need to be warded for a couple of days.

A physiotherapist will meet up with the patient before discharge and he will teach the patient a set of exercises that are designed to regain the flexibility, range of motion and strength in the injured shoulder. The exercises can be done at the comfort of your own home. Not only will physical therapy exercises be taught, the patient will also be educated on how to prevent re-injuring the shoulders.

Back at the comfort of their own home, it is crucial to perform the physical therapy exercises taught by the physiotherapist for 5 times a day.  Patients should attempt to get back their full range of motion as soon as possible to prevent the formation of scar tissues. If scar tissues are formed, the scarring might possibly cause the whole shoulder to stiffen which will result in huge discomfort and even limit the activities the shoulder can conduct in future. Swelling might be observed as well. They will normally go away if the arms are held in an elevated position and is nothing serious.

The first 12 weeks after surgery are the most important period. Physical exercises must be conducted regularly to regain the full range of motion and prevent the formation of scar tissues. It is of utmost importance not to lift the injured arm away from the body and do not exert any strength on it. Whenever throughout the day, the arm must always be kept inside a protective sling and it is only allowed to be removed which exercising or showering. Do not attempt to drive during the first 6 weeks after surgery.

Full recovery takes roughly 6 months and the first 12 weeks are of most importance. Do the exercises as prescribed by the physiotherapist and this will kick start the healing process

We offer professional help in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for rotator cuff injury and shoulder pain.