I had the bad luck to get a rotator cuff tear at the end of last year which really made me think about the rotator cuff muscles and how to fix them and keep them healthy. Some of what I found out quite surprised me and if I had known then what I now know about rotator cuff injury exercise I would certainly have approached my problem a bit differently.
So read along and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
If you have managed to damage your rotator cuff the first thing you need to do is stop using it. No, don't put your arm in a sling but do avoid any movement that causes you pain. I know that is easier said than done. We use our arms constantly, we swing them when we walk or run. Drop something and we instinctively reach out to catch it. We use our hands and consequently our arms to communicate. Resting our arms and our shoulders goes against our nature.
But, if you do not stop using your damaged shoulder, if you continue to do the movements that cause you pain you will simply end up damaging your arm further. Trust me, I did it! You must change how you move and work for two or three weeks to let the muscle heal properly. This is because the rotator cuff can get pinched or impinged when it is damaged and inflamed. That impingement can make the tendon fray and if you ignore it you can end up with a snapped tendon which is extremely bad news.
So, whilst you are taking it easy, take anti-inflammatory drugs and use ice packs to bring down the inflammation.
I made the mistake of working through a rotator cuff injury and made it much worse. I had tries anti-inflammatory drugs but only half heartedly. It was only when I rested my arm completely and maxed out on anti-inflammatories for about three weeks that I saw any improvement.
Do not pretend to treat the inflammation. Look after your shoulder properly. If you are following a doctor's advice, follow it thoroughly, don't kid yourself.
When you have managed to get the inflammation and pain under control do not go straight back to using your shoulder in the same way as before. You need to strengthen the shoulder and rotator cuff. This does not mean lifting weights and exercising the major muscles like the trapeziums. The rotator cuff is a group of relatively small muscles that help to keep the head of the humerus in the socket of the shoulder.
We use them without thinking and any exercise to strengthen them will not involve using weights. Rotator cuff injury exercise tends to be more Pilates based exercises concentrating on control and flexibility rather than power. Get your rotator cuff up to strength and your whole shoulder will be stronger. Ignore it and you are likely to have another injury pretty soon.
So. Like I said, learn from my mistakes. Take a cuff injury seriously. Rest it properly, no matter how inconvenient it is. Treat the inflammation and soreness for a few weeks, don't stop as soon as it stops being painfulArticle Search, carry on for a bit. When you are ready to exercise start with gentle exercises that focus on the rotator cuff. And keep doing the exercises when it is better. You do not want another cuff injury.