Thursday, December 8, 2011

When Your Rotator Cuff Goes Kaput!

Getting a good workout even when your rotator cuff is on the injured list.

All is going well when suddenly, there's a pain in your shoulder. After a quick trip to your doctor, you find out it's your rotator cuff. Now what?
You don't have to sit around moaning and groaning. You can take action to rebuild your damaged rotator cuff. All it takes is three easy steps.

First: Think Protection

No matter what else you do, you will need to keep your rotator cuff from further injury by protecting it well. If you're doing something that causes your injured rotator cuff to hurt, stop whatever you're doing. Otherwise, your already injured rotator cuff can suffer an even worse injury that requires more serious medical intervention.
Depending on your life circumstances, this could mean putting an end to a number of activities that you perform on a regular basis. No matter if the pain kicks in when you pick up your child, perform a certain exercise, or sit in a certain position, you'll need to avoid doing these things until your rotator cuff hurts. Because while there is such thing as good pain when you're in the weight room, all pain is bad pain if it is affecting an injured rotator cuff.

Second: Strengthen It

You're not going to be able to baby it forever. Eventually, you'll need to begin strengthening it, and the sooner you get started, the better off you'll be in the long run. To get started, try these exercises. In the event any of them cause you rotator cuff to hurt, take a break and try it again later.
Lie and Lift - Lying on your uninjured side, allow your injured arm to rest on your side, bent at the elbow so your hand is on your belly. Hold a weight in the hand resting on your belly and place a small towel under your injured arm. Slowly lift your forearm until it is pointed straight in the air, careful to keep your bicep on your side. Return slowly to the starting position and repeat.
Stand, Bend, Spin - Standing up beside a table, bend at the waist and place one hand on the table for balance, while your injured arm dangles freely. Slowly draw circles in the air with your injured arm, starting with small, tight circles, and making the circles larger and larger. Repeat this a few times each day.
Grab and Pull - Tie a piece of rubber tubing to a doorknob. Standing near the door, place your injured arm against your side and reach to your side to grab the tubing. Carefully pull the tubing across the front of your body and then return to the starting position for 10 repetitions. As you gain strength, increase the number of repetitions you perform.
Hold and Stretch - Place the hand of your injured arm on your back pocket. Then reach back with your other arm and grab the hand. Slowly pull the hand belonging to your injured rotator cuff up toward your shoulder. At the peak of the stretch, hold for a couple of seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat.

Third: Remember the Rest of Your Body

An injured rotator cuff may keep you from a number of activities, but it shouldn't keep you from visiting the gym. On top of performing appropriate exercises to rehabilitate your rotator cuff, you should continue working out the rest of your body to maintain good health.
Just be careful. If any part of your routine causes pain to your rotator cuff, skip that exercise set and get started on the next thing on your exercise to-do list. And if the pain continues after you're finished with your routine, try a little over-the-counter pain medication. In the event this isn't enough to ease the pain, contact your physician.

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