Do you like weightlifting? Do you also like extreme exercises or outdoor activities? Do you need to do overhead activities all the time? If you do, you might be starting to feel body pain as time goes by, especially pain in the shoulder. That might be a sign that your shoulder cuff is tearing. In this article, we will look closely on what is shoulder cuff and exercises to heal torn rotator cuff.
What Is Shoulder Cuff?
Shoulder cuff is composed of muscles and tendons that are located around the shoulder joint. It keeps your arm attached to the shoulder blades. If your shoulder blade is torn, it would be difficult to lift and rotate your shoulders. When this happens, simple tasks like waving, combing your hair, or even holding your face would be difficult.
Tearing of the shoulder cuff can’t be avoided because it may also be an effect of the aging of the body. However, the intensity of the effect varies in every person. Aside from that, shoulder cuff tearing caused by aging is not as intense as having a torn shoulder cuff due to an injury.
Shoulder Cuff Torn: Can It Be Treated?
There are two types of shoulder cuff tear, partial tear, and complete tear. Partial tear is wherein some tendons are torn but does not affect the cuff badly. Meanwhile, complete tear is wherein all the tendons are torn and it is separated from the bone. Can you imagine how painful it is to move your arms with torn shoulder cuff? I bet it hurts a lot.
The healing process of the shoulder cuff torn depends on the type of tear. Partially torn shoulder cuff may not require surgical treatment. However, completely torn shoulder cuff needs surgery and physical therapy.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), physical therapy or rehabilitation of the shoulders is very important after surgery. A person must undergo therapy for four to six weeks. The following are some prescribed by AAOS exercises to heal torn rotator cuff.
In this exercise, you will need a table or flat surface wherein you can get support. Start by placing one hand on the table or flat surface and lean forward. While doing this, let the other arm hang freely at your side.
After getting on that position, just gently swing your freely hanging arm forward and backward, side-to-side, and in a circular motion. Then repeat the process to the other arm.
This needs to be done 10 times for each arm twice.
2. Cross-over Arm Stretch
Start by relaxing your shoulders. Afterward, pull one arm gently across your chest as far as possible while holding your upper arm. Then hold it for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds afterward.
This needs to be done four times on each side.
3. Sleeper Stretch
A flat and firm surface is needed in this exercise. Lie on your side and make sure that the affected shoulder is under you. A pillow may be used on your head for support. Then bend your arm and use the unaffected arm to push it down. Stop pressing down when you feel the back of your affected shoulder stretching. Hold this position for 30 seconds then relax the arm for 30 seconds.
Do four repetitions of this three times a day.
Strengthening Exercises to Prevent Torn Rotator Cuff
1. Standing Row
You will need an elastic band for this exercise. Make a three-foot-long loop with the elastic band and tie it to a stale object, the doorknob will do.
Stand and hold the elastic band then make sure to keep your elbow bent. Make sure that your arm holding the elastic band is close to your side. Start the exercise by pulling your elbow back. Then slowly return to the start position and repeat for 12 times. It will also be better to do three sets of 12 repetitions. Then repeat it three times a week.
2. Elbow Flexion
Prepare two dumbbells for this exercise. A two to five-pound dumbbell will be good for this exercise. If you do not have it at home, improvise by filling a 500 ml water bottle with water.
Stand straight while holding the dumbbell in each hand. Then make sure that your elbow is kept close to your side. Slowly lift your forearm to bring the weight toward your shoulder. Hold this position. Return to your initial position afterward.
Three sets of eight for three days a week is the recommended repetition for this exercise.
3. Elbow Extension
One dumbbell is needed for this exercise. Hold it and raise your arm. Turn the weight behind your head by bending your elbow. Support it by placing your hand from the opposite arm to the upper arm.
Then slowly straighten your arm and bring the weight overhead and hold for two seconds. Slowly lower your arm back down behind your head and repeat for 8 times.
Do three sets of this three times a week.
4. Scapula Setting
Scapula setting is an easy exercise without the need for any equipment.
This may be done after the sleeper stretch, just turn around so that you are lying on your stomach then place your arms at your sides. You may place a pillow under your forehead to feel comfortable.
Gently draw your shoulder blades together. When it is as far as your back, you may stay at ease and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times.
This exercise must be done three times a week.
5. Bent-Over Horizontal Abduction
Lie on your stomach on a table or bed with the injured arm hanging at the side. Keep your arm straight then slowly raise it up to the eye level. Then slowly lower it back to your initial position.
Do three sets of eight for three times a week.
6. Internal and External Rotation
You may do this exercise after the bent over horizontal abduction; just rotate so that you will be lying on your back. Extend your arm straight out from the shoulder and bend the elbow 90 degrees so that your fingers are pointed up. Move your arm in an arc while keeping your elbow bent on the surface.
This exercise may be done at 45 degrees if you feel pain upon doing it in a 90-degree angle.
Repeat this exercise for three to four sets of 20 for three to five days a week.
These exercises are used for the rehabilitation of the shoulder after surgery, but to ensure the betterment of your condition, consult your doctor first before doing the exercises.