Rotator Cuff Q & A!

Rotator Cuff injuries can be difficult to understand, but here are our most common questions asked about the Rotator Cuff!

I have a rotator cuff injury in my shoulder. What does this mean? 

The rotator cuff refers to a group of muscles that attach from the shoulder blade to the humerus (upper arm). These tendons run through a groove under the upper outside edge of the shoulder blade. Any reduced space for the rotator cuff tendons may result in an impingement of the tendons. 

My personal trainer has suggested that exercising the muscles around my shoulder blade can be of great benefit to my rotator cuff injury. Is this correct? 

Yes, that is correct. The rotator cuff consists of muscles/tendons that attach from the shoulder blade to the upper outside aspect of the arm. The upper arm joins the outside aspect of the shoulder blade to form the shoulder joint. The correct position of the shoulder blade is of vital importance to provide stability to the shoulder joint. The stability of the shoulder blade serves to decrease the stress on the rotator cuff during movements of the shoulder. The alignment of the neck and back has a direct effect on the position of the shoulder blade. 

What Could Physiotherapy do for my Rotator Cuff?

Physiotherapy management of rotator cuff injuries include:

  • Identify the cause of the injury and correct the aggravating factors. 
  • Decrease the pain, inflammation, and thickening of the tendons. 
  • Improve the pain-free range of neck, back, and shoulder movement. 
  • Increase the flexibility of the neck & shoulder musculature. 
  • Correct spinal & scapula (shoulder blade) alignment, muscle imbalance, and poor posture. 
  • Strengthen the core stabilizing muscles of the neck, shoulder and back. 
  • Improve functional ability to work i.e. to lift and carry without pain. 
  • Sport’s rehabilitation – provide a customized training program to enable a progressive safe return to exercise and sport.

What Could I do to Prevent Another Injury?

Self Help Measures include:

Posture – maintain your neck, back shoulder blades in the neutral (midline) position when doing exercise or activities of daily life i.e. lifting, pulling, carrying, or pushing 

Stabilization – of the neck, back and shoulder blade provides the framework of support for the shoulder, thereby preventing compensatory stresses to the rotator cuff musculature.

Exercise – a progressive rehabilitation program will provide mobility, stability and strengthen the shoulder, neck and back musculature. 

If you think you may have a Rotator Cuff injury, a physiotherapist assessment will help identify the cause of injury and a comprehensive treatment program can help relieve the pain and restore full function. Click here to find a location near you!