Having torn my rotator cuff quite badly at the end of last year and ending up with an imipinged shoulder I have discovered that rotator cuff physical therapy exercises are the quickest way to get your shoulder back to its pre injury state. This is true whether you are aiming to speed up recovery time or get over surgery.
Physical therapy is always recommended as part of the recovery process for rotator cuff. It is usually tried before surgery simply because most problems will respond to shoulder specific exercises. The exceptions to this are a full thickness rotator cuff tear or a severe shoulder impingement both of which may require surgery followed by a period of rest before beginning physical therapy.
It is essential with any shoulder injury that you rest your shoulder properly for some time until the swelling and pain have subsided. Any pain that you feel with specific movements is usually a sign that you are doing more damage to the muscle or tendons. Resting your shoulder properly may well mean using a sling, avoiding driving and will certainly mean modifying your day to day activities to avoid any movements that cause you pain. Along with the rest, use non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to bring down the inflammation. Inflammation of the muscles and tendons is what causes the majority of pain in rotator cuff injuries and reducing the inflammation is key to a speedy recovery.
Once the inflammation and pain are under control it is essential to start exercises that are specifically aimed at rehabilitating this group of muscles and rebuilding the shoulder. Physical therapy exercises will not be the general weight bearing shoulder exercises that we use to build muscle as these tend to focus on the main muscles of the shoulder and avoid the rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff physical therapy will involve exercises with little or no resistance or weight often relying just on the natural resistance of the body to achieve results. Just lifting the weight of your arm is often enough load to achieve the desired effect at first, moving on to using small weights as the muscles gets better. Any exercise routine should start with a series of gentle stretches to avoid further injury to the damaged muscle, followed by stabilising and strengthening exercises. You will be surprised how quickly your shoulder can return to normal once you start developing the rotator cuff muscle.
In my case, I managed to fix a bad shoulder rotator cuff tear and shoulder impingement, which I was told would require surgery, in just eight weeks using rotator cuff physical therapy exercises.
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