Rotator Cuff Injuries!
Doing These Things Everyday Can Make It Worse...

Rotator Cuff injuries are tough to handle. They will wake you up at night, make it uncomfortable to put on

your jacket, or hold your child easily. The Rotator Cuff is made up of four muscles which stabilize your shoulder joint and move your arm. For those who are interested it's the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres and Subscapularis muscles. These muscles rotate, raise and stabilize your arms, and with any of them injured it will make normal function uncomfortable at best.

If the injury is severe enough, it can cause extreme limitations in the range of motion, and cause weakness in the arm. Restriction of movement over time can cause a condition called a Frozen Shoulder. This is when the joint capsule in the shoulder joint adheres to the joint. It is not as common as other shoulder injuries, and the most common way to treat this condition is to force the arm through a range of motion to break the adhesions. It is excruciating to move the arm through that range. Having a shoulder with tight, injured muscles do not constitute a 'frozen shoulder', but the restriction over a long period of time from those types of injuries have been known to ultimately cause frozen shoulder.

Something to consider with rotator cuff injuries is the 360 degree rule. Many of our common, current-day postural strains are caused by extended computer use, driving, carrying heavy bags/backpacks and gaming. These postural strains can make you more prone to tightness in these muscle groups supporting your shoulder, possibly making you more prone to injury in your rotator cuff. All of these postures tend to create an imbalance in the muscles of the shoulder from front to back, specifically tightening the pectoralis muscle. The rotator cuff muscles all attach to the upper part of your arm (humerus bone), along with that strong muscle. This pectoralis major muscle (along with its smaller buddy, pectoralis minor) is a strong, large muscle covering the upper part of your chest, and if it gets tight over time, it can pull your shoulder forward. This can strain the rotator cuff muscles, as well as other muscles in your upper back and neck. If you are experiencing any kind of upper back or shoulder strain over time, be sure not to miss stretching this muscle as a possible source of tension and imbalance.

Care of a rotator cuff injury at home include doing stretches to alleviate the pressure on those muscles, like those available for free instant download when you register for our newsletter.

1) Sleeping on your back-if you sleep on your side, you will cause further strain on whichever rotator cuff muscle is injured.

2) Keep shoulder bags/laptop bags off that shoulder-as you create a tight pattern of muscles through your shoulder, and up through your neck, those muscles are forced to stay tight to support the weight of your shoulder bag, or a purse in the crook of your arm.

3) Keep your mouse close to you at your workstation-if the rotator cuff muscles are causing you pain on the side you mouse on the computer, it will continue to get worse, if you are reaching out to the side. You should be able to just raise your lower arm, without raising your shoulder to the front or the side. If it is even slightly out to the side, or too far in front of you, you will engage your shoulder stabilizers and/or your chest muscles, causing tension through your upper side quadrant of your torso!

This pain can manifest from your sternum (breast bone) through your pectoralis (upper chest) muscle, around your shoulder and even across your shoulder blade to your spine. These muscles are all involved in supporting the shoulder, and get tight from chronic postural strain. We have an office checklist that we offer as an instant download, when you register for our email newsletter, on the left of this page, as well!

4) Try to drive a little more with your other arm...if you have a rotator cuff injury, holding your arm in one position for a long period of time, particularly in front of you, can flare up the strain and inflammation.

5) Holding a child (or anything heavy or for a long time) will cause the muscles in the rotator cuff to hold a lot of tension, and inflame the tendons, if you have an injury there already.

The image of the massage above is from our Couples Massage DVD. Your partner can learn to massage you, in order to reduce the tension and general discomfort related to rotator cuff injuries, as well as other parts of the body. It is available on DVD, or as an instant download.

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