Tag Archives: rotator cuff injury

Do You Have A Rotator Cuff Injury?

As you are probably aware, injuries to the rotator cuff are fairly common to athletes and bodybuilders. The shoulder is actually a complex series of joints that can be difficult for the average Joe to understand. As a result, many rotator cuff injuries are self-diagnosed and are likely to be something else entirely.

In the event a legitimate rotator cuff injury rears its ugly head, staying informed on how to deal with it is absolutely critical to proper healing.

First, let me describe what the rotator cuff is, which may be confusing all by itself. The rotator cuff is four muscles in the shoulder that are responsible for some of the shoulder’s motion. A lot of that motion involves the rotation of the humerus, the long bone in the arm, which is why the group of muscles is referred to as rotators. Another major role these muscles play is the stabilization of the shoulder, which is a series of joints that requires muscular stabilization to allow for greater range of motion.

rotator-cuff

When one of the muscles, or the tendons that connect the muscles to the bones, becomes torn, either partially or completely, you have a rotator cuff injury.

In one study of athletes, the research indicated that only 10% of partial tears heal completely, and another 10% heal partially. 53% of tears will actually worsen and 28% will progress into full tears, which do not heal on their own. In some cases these tears can cause long term changes to the joint itself.

The acute phase of rotator cuff treatment occurs immediately after the injury occurs and will continue until pain free range of motion (below shoulder height) has been achieved and normal daily activites are relatively pain free.

Apply cold therapy and compression wrap to the shoulder. This will help reduce pain and inflammation. Apply ice for up to 15 minutes every 2 hours, gradually reducing the frequency of applications as the shoulder improves. Posture is important and sitting upright with the shoulders back, especially when sitting at a desk or using a computer can help relieve symptoms. Also, it’s not a bad idea to add a natural supplement for joint aches and pain, like Synotrex.

A doctor may prescribe NSAID’s or anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. ibuprofen) may help in the early stages although it is argued they are not as effective later on or if the injury becomes chronic. Always check with your Doctor before taking medication if you are not sure. Electrotherapy, such as ultrasound, may be beneficial to reduce pain and inflammation.

shoulder-pain

RECOVERY PHASE

The recovery phase begins when the initial pain and inflammation has dissipated, most normal daily activities are pain free and the injured arm has at least 75% range of movement compared to the uninjured one.

Aims:

  • Regain full, pain free range of motion
  • Normal upper body strength
  • Normal shoulder joint movement patterns

Range of Motion

This is achieved by wand or pole exercises which help with flexibility above shoulder height, progressing onto stretching and mobility exercises without assistance from a pole. Scapular control is progressed with balance board exercises on your hands, press up type exercises and ball catch and return exercises.

Strengthening

Exercises to isolate the rotator cuff muscles can begin including strengthening exercises which concentrate more specifically on the external rotator muscles (the ones that rotate the arm out) and the scapular stabilizers (muscles that support the shoulder blade). It is also important to strengthen the whole joint with weight training exercises such as the bench press, shoulder press (military press) and pull downs – but with very light weights. For example, aiming for 12 to 20 reps of a light weight concentrating on correct technique.

Shoulder pain

FUNCTIONAL PHASE

During the functional phase exercises which are more sports specific are introduced in preparation for returning to full training and competition.

Aims:

  • To increase power and endurance in the upper body muscles
  • Improve strength of the shoulder joint in all directions
  • Introduce sports specific shoulder exercises

Increasing Power

This is done through more plyometric or explosive type exercises and may depend on your particular sport. Sports specific exercises using exercise bands and throwing and catching type exercises with mini medicine balls can be done.

Working Out Can Be A Pain

Lifting heavy weights can wear down our joints over time and sometimes lead to injury that keeps us out of the gym from weeks to months. Personally, my knees take a beating from squats and my shoulders, elbows, hands and ankles will have ongoing phases of painful joints and inflammation.

Portrait of a muscle fitness man reaching for his knee in pain

You can always use wraps, apply some topical cream and do hot/cold therapy to help ease the pain, but I like to beat the game and I’m sure you do too. Instead of waiting for the pain to arrive and reach for an anti-inflammatory (like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen), the best thing you can do for joint pain is to PREVENT it from happening. There are a few natural ways you can lubricate your joints effectively allowing you to maximize your results in the gym. Time off can steal your gains that you’ve worked so hard for and nobody wants that.

Numerous research has indicated that glucosamine and chondroitin help with joint pain and improve function. Both of these substances are components of cartilage, which helps cushion the bones and protect the joints.

Supplement FactsGlucosamine is an amino sugar and part of the structure of chitin which actually compose the exoskeletons of crustaceans and other anthropods. Glucosamine is commonly sold in a variety of forms including: glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and N-acetylglucosamine.

Chondrotin sulfate is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composed of a chain of alternating sugars. Chondrotin chains can contain over 100 individual sugars and is proven to be an important structural component of cartilage, proving resistance to compression.

My supplement of choice is Synotrex which combines both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. Synotrex even goes a step further by adding Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) which is used for chronic pain and joint inflammation.

Synotrex provides a dual effect to provide joint pain relief since it (1) promotes the growth of new cartilage, (2) while helping to keep the cartilage from deteriorating further.

synotrex (1)Synotrex was my answer to preventing joint pain and inflammation. Even if you’re already suffering from joint pain, Synotrex guarantees you will experience pain relief within 30 days and offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, which I think is excellent.  Most companies only offer 30-day guarantees, if any at all.

No, I’m not being paid by the company to write this. I’m letting you know about a product I’ve personally taken for over a year with my daily supplement routine. No gimmicks, just facts.

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”