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Rehab Your Rotator Cuff Injury With These Physical Therapy Hacks

Rotator cuff injuries occur in far more than just baseball players. You can injure any one of these muscles from something as simple as a fall. Today, I'll walk you through how to rehab one of these kinds of injuries from home. Keep in mind, the exercises we will be demonstrating can also help strengthen your shoulder girdle which can help with shoulder impingements or even rounded shoulder posture. So even if you don't have a rotator cuff injury specifically, some of these tips and tricks might still be beneficial to you!

There are many different kinds of shoulder injuries ranging from the tearing of the muscles that comprise the rotator cuff, tearing of the labrum or cartilage that helps position the humerus inside the glenoid cavity (or arm inside the shoulder socket), to overall structural impingement caused by faulty shoulder mechanics and muscle imbalances. Today, we're going to focus on posture, shoulder setting and cover position exercises and pec minor muscle tracing.

  1. Correct Standing Posture: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with pressure on the big toe, pinky toe and heel. Knees should be slightly bent and you want them to feel bouncy. Your pelvis should be in neutral and you should have a slight forward lean. Set your shoulders by shrugging up, turn your palms out and slightly tuck your chin.

  2. Shoulder Setting: Use a towel and apply an inward and downward force to activate the muscles in your armpit. Relax the upper traps and do not activate the pecs or lats. Watch the video below for more instructions!

  3. Cover Position: To activate shoulder depressors and to stabilize the shoulder girdle. Put your hand across and place the other hand under the elbow for resistance. Apply downward pressure activating rhomboids, rotator cuff muscles in the armpit that we just learned how to do from shoulder setting, and subclavian.

  4. Pec Minor Tracing: You can use your fingers or nails to do this. Tight pec muscles will pull your arm forward and can contribute to rounding of the shoulders, which could also affect shoulder mechanics. You'll want to use an angle of about 40 degrees and trace the muscle fibers from medial to lateral or inside out to release some of the restrictions. There might be some bruising or marks left so use your discretion regarding how much pressure to put.

There you have it, we’ve listed a few tips, tricks, and exercises you can do to help realign your body, strengthen your shoulder girdle, and improve your posturing.

We heal smarter, not harder,

Dr. Preston Nguyen


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