Rotator Cuff Physical Therapy Basics – How to Recover from a Rotator Cuff Injury
The rotator cuff is a series of tendons and muscles on the shoulder area where the ball and socket joints are found. The shoulder is one of the most mobile parts of the body, being able to provide the body with a wide range of motions. It is also one of the most common places where injuries occur, either due to strains, tears, dislocations, or fractures, and these can be caused by a variety of conditions and accidents.
Recovering from a rotator cuff injury may take weeks or months to complete, especially when you consider that you have to regain your strength, as well as have full range of motion. When injuries in these areas occur, doctors may recommend massages as well as taking anti-pain and anti-inflammatory medications. They would also recommend not moving the area, as well as applying ice during the initial stages of the injury, and heat thereafter. For extreme cases however, surgeries and prolonged physical therapies may be required.
Physical therapies include basic and intermediate exercises that would help you regain your rotator cuffs functionalities and full range of motion. These entail little to no exercise equipment, and you can do most of these exercises alone and at home. Of course, you must have the consent and permission of your therapist or doctor before doing any type of therapy for yourself, as otherwise you could cause further injury.
Rotator cuff physical therapies range from stretching exercises, such as bring your arm across your chest and stretching it with your other arm at 30 second intervals, to mobility improving exercises, where you may perform activities such as rolling a ball up and down against the wall with your arms straight, or swinging your arms in a pendulum-like motion. Lastly, plyometric exercises such as throwing a medicine ball on a trampoline and catching it as well as strength training activities like lifting weights may be integrated into the physical therapy program at its later stages.
You also need to keep in mind that physical therapy may take months to complete. There are no overnight results, and improvements can be slow and sometimes painful. Thus, those recovering from shoulder injuries must be patient, as rushing towards recovery may prove to be a step backward than forward. It would be best to stick with the recommended program, and always consult the advice of a licensed and certified professional. Also, never return to any type of physical activity without the say so of your trainer or therapist, as you might further aggravate your injury and set back your recovery time.
Recommended physical therapies differ from person to person, as well as on the type of injury that they have experienced. Never attempt to treat a shoulder injury on your own, as you might do more harm than good. It is always best to consult a doctor as they are much more equipped with the knowledge as to go about your injury. With the proper therapy and medication, you will soon gain enough strength, range, and mobility so that you would be able to lead a regular and pain free life again.