The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles located in the shoulder and upper back. It connects the upper part of the arm to the shoulder blade. The tendons in the rotator cuff are responsible for shoulder stability. The muscles in the rotator cuff allow the shoulder to rotate.
To understand how important the rotator cuff is, you need to know how the shoulder works. The shoulder is made up of three bones: the humerus (upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collar bone). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket type joint. The ball, or head, of your upper arm bone fits precisely into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade.
The rotator cuff is what keeps your arm in this socket! Clearly, it’s an important piece of the body’s puzzle. When rotator cuff pain occurs, it can be incredibly debilitating. It’s also something that needs to be taken seriously!
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Pain
According to The Mayo Clinic, symptoms associated with a rotator cuff injury may include:
- a dull ache in the shoulder
- difficulty sleeping, especially when laying on the affected shoulder
- pain when lifting or moving your arm in different directions
- a grating sound or sensation when moving your shoulder in certain positions
- weakness in the impacted shoulder and arm
Common Causes of Rotator Cuff Pain
There are a number of causes for rotator cuff pain or injuries. Typically this type of pain comes from a torn rotator cuff. Sports injuries, unexpected falls, overuse from repeated actions, and normal wear and tear from aging can lead to rotator cuff pain.
Unfortunately, a rotator cuff tear is one of the most common injuries to occur in the shoulder area. Rotator cuff pain can also be caused by:
- Impingement of the tendons in the shoulder
- Frozen shoulder
Natural Treatments for Rotator Cuff Pain
Seeking treatment early on during the course of rotator cuff issues is key. There are many nonsurgical methods available to treat and heal rotator cuff pain. Read on to learn about natural treatment options for rotator cuff pain and injuries.
While many believe that doctors of chiropractic only treat back and neck pain, this simply isn’t the case. Doctors of chiropractic are experts in understanding how the body works and moves. Their goal is to help restore function to all parts of the body, and to help harness your body’s ability to heal itself.
Dr. Dee, at Healing Hands Chiropractic in Murfreesboro, TN, has years of experiencing treating injuries such as rotator cuff pain. Through targeted adjustments, she can help reduce inflammation around the rotator cuff. She can also help restore range of motion and recommend exercises that will strengthen the area.
Through these adjustments, Dr. Dee will help restore the body’s nervous system. This power is what helps the body heal itself, and will help your rotator cuff heal.
If you know you’ve just injured your rotator cuff, immediately place ice on the area. This helps reduce inflammation and swelling. Apply ice for 15 minutes every other hour for the first few hours. Then you can drop down to 3 times a day until the pain subsides.
One of the hardest things to do in our society is to rest and take time to let our body heal. If you’re injured, your body needs even more rest than usual! Try getting more sleep and limiting overhead activities to give your rotator cuff time to heal.
Take it easy and give your shoulder and rotator cuff time to heal. By slowing down, you could truly speed up your recovery time.
Strengthening and Stretching
There are specific exercises you can do to strengthen and restore movement to the rotator cuff. Definitely seek out the advice of an expert before starting any strengthening regimen.
Stretching will also help improve your rotator cuff pain, by increasing flexibility and range of motion. Remember, stretching should never hurt or cause pain in the rotator cuff.
Rotator Cuff Strengthening and Stretching Exercises
If your doctor has cleared you for strengthening and stretching exercises to help in healing your rotator cuff injury, try giving these a try!
1. Crossover Arm Stretch
With your feet hip distance apart, relax you shoulders and gently pull one arm across your chest as far as you can. Hold at your upper arm area for 30 seconds. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat the stretch 5x per side.
2. Back Rotation
Hold a small hand towel, lengthwise, behind your back. Be sure you grab one end with one hand, and lightly hold the other end with your other hand. Pull the towel horizontally so that it stretches your shoulder, but doesn’t cause pain. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat 4x per side.
Lean forward with your knees slightly bend and put one hand on a table for support. Let your other arm hang at your side. Swing this arm back and forth 3-4 times, then side to side 3-4 times, and then in a circular motion 3-4 times. Repeat this sequence with the other arm. Do this 3x per side.
4. Standing Row
Using a light resistance band, loop the band around a doorknob or post. Grab the handles or two ends the band with your hand. With your feet hip distance apart, hold the band with your elbow bent and at your side.
Keeping your arm close to your side, slowly pull your elbow straight back. Slowly return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 per side. Think about squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull.
Healing Hands Chiropractic Can Help
If you think you are suffering from a rotator cuff injury, please contact our offices today. Chiropractic care is a safe, natural, and effective way to treat rotator cuff pain at its source.
Dr. Dee and her kind and caring staff at Healing Hands Chiropractic look forward to hearing from you! Contact our offices today at 615-203-3505