5 Exercises For Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Rotator cuff exercises

The rotator cuff is composed of four groups of tendons or tissues and muscles that come together to create a "cap" that surrounds the humerus top. The humerus top refers to the bone that composes the upper portion of the arms. In simple terms, therefore, the cuff serves as the main link between the human shoulder and the arm, a joint that allows the latter to move around in a complete circle, in essence, the rotator of the human upper extremities.

Additionally, the rotator cuff also serves as a shoulder stabilizer, and when fully functional, it should allow for a total circular arm motion. However, when Tendonitis takes place, the cuff may find itself limited in movement.

Tendonitis or Tendinitis is the swelling or the inflammation of a particular body tissue called a tendon. When Tendonitis is concentrated around the rotator cuff, it simply means that the tendons that make up the cuff are inflamed, causing pain, significantly limiting arm and even shoulder movement.

The inflammation does not take place all of a sudden. Rather, rotator cuff Tendonitis develops over time, initially characterized by repeated irritation around the affected part. People having loose joints, those with abnormal shoulder bone structure, as well as people who constantly and repetitively lift heavy objects above their shoulders are usually the ones most predisposed to having rotator cuff Tendonitis.

Whatever the cause, if the injury is not severe, rotator cuff Tendonitis can still be treated using simple shoulder exercises. These exercises are supposed to strengthen the tendon muscles that surround the cuff, and thus prevent the injury from going into further retrogression. Naturally, it will help if the advice of an experienced physician is sought, especially in cases when the cuff has not had sufficient rest, which is actually important.

In any case, there are certain strengthening exercises that can be done even without the recommendation of a physician. This should ideally be during cases when shoulder pain is not yet severe and generally still at a tolerable level.

Exercise #1:

There are five common exercises commonly used to strengthen the shoulder muscles, and thus prevent rotator cuff Tendonitis from setting in. The first one involves warm-up activities for the shoulder, highlighted by the pendulum exercise. It starts out with a stretching of the arms and the shoulders, initially by letting the arms to hang down while bending at waist level. This should then be followed by a gentle swinging of the arms, keeping the muscles relaxed. Afterward, slowly lift the arm within three seconds, then gradually lower it within six seconds. Keep repeating the process until the arms get tired. Initially, this should be done in sets of either 20s or 30s without the aid of weights. Eventually, though, weights will have to be utilized to further strengthen the rotator cuff.

Exercise #2:

The second exercise involves the lying down position. Lying prone on the bed, stretch out one arm towards the side, keeping it at the shoulder level. The elbow should be bent at 90 degrees while the hand should be pointing downward. Keeping the elbow bent, slowly raise the hand, stopping once it hits the shoulder level. Repeat the process until the arm gets tired, after which the exercise gets done on the other arm.

Exercise #3:

The third exercise involves the placement of a towel under the right armpit. Roll up the towel first before placing it in position, after which lie down sideways, with one arm stretched over the head. Place the other arm at the sides, with the elbow bent at 90 degrees. Rest the forearm against the chest while keeping the palm down. Afterward, roll out the rested shoulder, followed by a raising of the forearm, stopping only when it reaches shoulder level. Thereafter, lower the raised arm slowly and repeat the process until the arm gets tired, then switch position and try the exercise on the other arm.

Exercise #4:

Maintain the sideways lying position and start with the fourth exercise. Lying on either side, rest one arm sideways with the elbow bent at 90 degrees. Then, slowly roll in the other shoulder, followed by a raising of the forearm towards the chest. Afterward, lower it slowly, repeating the process until the right arm gets tired, and then let the rested arm try the exercise.

Exercise #5:

Begin the fifth exercise by standing up, placing one arm in between the side and the front body area. Then slowly raise the arm until it reaches an angle of about 45 degrees, followed by a gradual lowering of the arm. Repeat the process until the arm gets tired, then try the exercise on the other arm.

Cool Down...

After the exercises, place an ice bag on the shoulders, keeping it there for about 20 minutes. It is generally recommended that plastic bags containing ice cubes or frozen peas be used rather than gel packs. The ideal set-up is to perform the exercises anywhere from three to five days a week.

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