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Protecting Your Body from Painful Rotator Cuff Injuries

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Protecting Your Body from Painful Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff isn’t a singular muscle, but a fan-shaped group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder. Despite its name, the rotator cuff’s primary purpose is not to rotate the shoulder, but to keep the upper arm bone centered as the surrounding muscles move.

Rotator cuff injuries are common among people who frequently perform overhead motions—either in sports or in their jobs. An injury to the rotator cuff typically causes a dull ache in the shoulder, which can become worse at night when sleeping on the injured side.

Common causes of injury to the rotator cuff include blunt trauma injuries, such as a fall, overuse injuries from poor postural positioning and tears from playing sports such as golf and tennis, or lifting heavy objects.

Rotator cuff injuries can be prevented with strengthening exercises, and in the event of an injury, physical therapy to increase flexibility and strength of the muscles and tissues in the rotator cuff is often successful. In cases of severe injuries, surgical repair might be necessary.

Robert Treece, Cooper Fitness Professional Fitness Trainer, explains how exercise can prevent rotator cuff injuries and tears.

Strengthening the rotator cuff requires strengthening surrounding muscle groups. “There are a lot of similar muscle fibers that align with the rotator cuff, including the pecs, lats and deltoid muscles,” said Treece. “If those aren’t working correctly, the rotator cuff is left vulnerable and must take on additional stress.”

Band stretches are some of the best exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles that surround the shoulder. There are two types of exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff: 

  • Isolated rotator cuff exercises pinpoint the rotator cuff specifically and are focused on strengthening those muscles. 
  • Integrated rotator cuff exercises are focused on how the rotator cuff relates to shoulder motion, spinal motion and hip motion and works on strengthening the various links in that chain.

Watch this video of Treece demonstrating exercise moves to strengthen rotator cuffs. “It’s important to understand that the rotator cuff is not usually the sole issue in a rotator cuff problem,” said Treece. To that end, prevention should focus on proper alignment, posture and motion through the hips, spine and shoulder, as well as strengthening the muscles directly around the shoulder.

To learn about training at Cooper Fitness Center with Robert Treece or a Professional Fitness Trainer, call 972.233.4832.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.