Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises

Rotator Cuff Physical Therapy


Rotator cuff physical therapy, I have used the term quite frequently throughout this site but what exactly do I mean by it?

In this section I want to take a closer look at physical therapy or as it is often referred to rotator cuff physiotherapy.

I hope to explain what rotator cuff physical therapy is and how it works.

What is Physical Therapy?

When I set about writing this particular guide I decided to start from the very basics.

I wanted to a definition of what physical therapy actually is.

I thought I had a pretty good idea but decided to look it up anyway so I thought I would start by sharing. This is about the best I found;

"The treatment of physical dysfunction or injury by the use of therapeutic exercise and the application of modalities, intended to restore or facilitate normal function or development."

To save you the trouble I went on to look up modalities as I didn't have any idea what they are. Well it is quite simple and when applied in medicine means:

"Any physical or electrical therapeutic method or agency"

So effectively when we are talking specifically about rotator cuff tear physical therapy we are talking about treating the muscles of the rotator cuff.

We are using exercises for rotator cuff muscles and possibly a mix of other methods (modalities), such as massage, to treat whatever injury we may have. The whole point of rotator cuff physical therapy is quite simply to restore normal or pre injury function.

The role of the Physical Therapist

Rotator Cuff Physical TherapyAgain I thought I would start with a definition of sorts this time taken from the World Confederation for Physical Therapy.

Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximising quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation.

This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well being.

Physical therapy involves the interaction between physical therapist, patients/clients, other health professionals, families, care givers, and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists.

Physical therapists are qualified and professionally required to:

  • 1. Undertake a comprehensive examination /assessment / evaluation of the patient / client or needs of a client group;


  • 2. Formulate a diagnosis, prognosis, and plan;


  • 3. Provide consultation within their expertise and determine when patients / clients need to be referred to another healthcare professional;


  • 4. Implement a physical therapist intervention / treatment program;


  • 5. Determine the outcomes of any interventions / treatments; and


  • 6. Make recommendations for self management.

The therapy process

The actual therapy process is actually fairly simple and can be broken down into stages. Rotator cuff physical therapy and follows exactly the same basic path. This path includes:
  • 1. An initial examination / assessment


  • 2. An evaluation or diagnosis


  • 3. A basic prognosis, what outcome can be achieved


  • 4. The development of a treatment plan, and finally


  • 5. A re examination and reassessment

It is quite possible to go through this process more than once when dealing with any injury.

Rotator cuff tear physical therapy is no different, indeed because of the complicated nature of the shoulder and the muscles of the rotator cuff, this process will regularly be followed a number of times. Assess, plan and review.

Think of it like a surface to air missile aiming to shoot down a moving aircraft. If it didn't constantly re evaluate its position relative to its target and change course it would just go straight and miss by miles.

It achieves success by repeatedly re-examining and reassessing and developing a new plan, a new direction.

What about physical therapists?

The first thing to say here is you are in good, safe hands. Physical Therapy is an established and fully regulated profession.

There are differences around the world but the first qualification obtained in any country always represents a curriculum that qualifies the practitioner to use the title Physical Therapist.

Physical therapist entry-level educational programs are based on university studies, of a minimum of four years, independently validated and accredited as being at a standard that accords graduates full statutory and professional recognition.

Of the 211 accredited physical therapy programs in the US, for example, 202 are accredited at the doctoral level.

Some physical therapists do, because of the diverse nature of the role, choose to specialise. The American Physical Therapy Association lists 8 current specialist areas with Women's health the latest to be added.

When talking specifically about rotator cuff physical therapy it is an Orthopaedic specialist.

Specialty Area Number of Certified Specialists

  • Cardiopulmonary 138
  • Clinical Electro physiologic 139
  • Geriatric 1006
  • Neurologic 757
  • Orthopaedic 5590
  • Pediatric 943
  • Sports 775
  • Women's Health 61

My recommended therapy supplements:

I have used both these in my therapy and recovery efforts.  They are both excellent products.



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