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  • Alex Nichols

Rotator Cuff - What is that!

So, you may have heard of the term rotator cuff chucked around the gym and office environments as soon as someone reports of shoulder pain or discomfort in and around there shoulder. You probably look at them without much clue of what it actually does or it's function. Why does this term get thrown out there as a main topic of shoulder pain, is it always the rotator cuff?


Hopefully this post will help you out, with what it is and what it does. As well as an exercise which you can do to strengthen the muscles to help with any future pain.


The rotator cuff is located around the shoulder joint, and made up of 4 different muscles. With it's main function to assist rotation and stabilization of the shoulder joint. External rotation, internal rotation and abduction are all movements which are assisted by this group of muscles.


Why is the term 'damaged my rotator cuff' so frequently used? Reason being because it is a very common shoulder injury. The muscles which make up this group of muscles are only small muscle and are quite often too heavily loaded and put under too much strain. When these muscles become over loaded they can create pain deep in the shoulder joint with some of the movements becoming impossible to do without pain. These can be little things such as washing your hair, reaching behind your back or even getting something off of the top shelf in the cupboard.


Commonly a damaged rotator cuff comes from there being an imbalance in the musculature around the shoulder joint, including the chest and the back. If one of which is significantly stronger then this exposes the rotator cuff to movements and loading of which it is not made up to do. As well as an overuse of the small muscles required to perform large movements.


So what should you do? You need to work out whether it is the chest or the back which is creating this imbalance. The majority of people those especially working in an office environment it would be the chest so try and get this released off, or stretched out. This will help by then getting the shoulder in to a better position. Then try to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. A good way of doing this is by using bands of which you can pick up fairly cheaply on Amazon or ebay. You don't need anything too thick as you want to be able to create perfect form with these muscles moving in the correct planes of movement.


Exercises which I like as a therapist which work really well using bands are the face pull and press. This movement helps with the stabilisation of the shoulder blade as well as recruiting the muscles in a lot of different variants of movement at the shoulder joint. There are many different videos on how to do this, YouTube is full of them or a really good one on Instagram is via this link (https://www.instagram.com/p/BtJBct9hK_4/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=m1c0q7vn5gbx)


Give these a go. You don't need the equipment they've got in this video just a couple of bands will do the trick. Aim for high repititions 8-10 reps and 3-4 sets. Hit these up for a couple of weeks and see how you get on.


If you continue to get pain in and around the shoulder, seek a professional opinion and get them to take a look at it.


Thanks for reading,

Alex




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