Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation
Rotator cuff rehabilitation is a lengthy process designed to slowly and safely return your rotator cuff to peak fitness.
Done correctly and diligently many people find that, rotator cuff rehab, rather than simply restore function actually improves it.
The shoulder emerges from the whole process stronger and healthier. Why is this? Well it is fair to say that a lot of rotator cuff tears happen originally due to a lack of rotator cuff muscle strength.
Certainly from my own experience I found this to be true. Although I was healthy and active I did no specific rotator cuff exercises. It took me until my second tear to finally and fully appreciate the importance of rotator cuff rehabilitation.
So just exactly what can you expect from a program of rotator cuff physical therapy? Firstly all physical therapy rotator cuff routines will vary slightly dependant upon your Physical Therapist and your actual injury. That said, the variations will only be minor and most rotator cuff rehab schedules will follow this basic pattern.
Before I go through the standard Rotator cuff rehabilitation program, there are a couple of other very important factors.
Quite simply the fitter you are the easier and quicker this will be.
You never know if were not a regular exerciser this could be the spur you needed?
Start slowly and build it upRemember at all times if you start to have too much pain stop. If you have any tenderness after exercise, continue to use ice treatment to soothe. Initially what you want to achieve is slowly increasing mobility. This will reduce any potential for scarring and stiffness.
Start with passive or assisted motion and move on, when you are ready, to active or unassisted motion. Slowly build in resistance motion exercises by doing rotator cuff exercises with elastic. Finally move up to rotator cuff weight exercises but even here start with low weights and progress slowly.
Passive motion - The shoulder is moved but without the rotator cuff muscles doing any work. Effectively you or someone else moves the arm
Active motion - During the active motion phase you utilise your rotator cuff muscles to move your shoulder without aid. Under no circumstances apply any resistance.
Rotator cuff exercises with elastic - Once you have minimal pain and a reasonable range of motion in your shoulder, you can move onto resistance exercises. These usually start with what is known as tubing exercises.
The 'tubing' is also known as a theraband; it is simply just a big rubber elastic band. This is tied to something at one end, and you hold the other end and pull the band thereby stretching it and providing resistance for your shoulder.
Rotator cuff weight exercises - A natural progression is to move on to the use of weights. Doing the same exercises but introducing weights helps to further strengthen the rotator cuff.
A major part of the rotator cuff rehabilitation is the use of weights, not necessarily heavy weights, to guarantee a successful outcome. Do not forget to work on the surrounding muscles too.
Isolate each rotator cuff muscle
This is the key factor in successful rotator cuff rehab. You have a range of rotator cuff muscles so you need a range of exercises.
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