What are the Different Types of Rotator Cuff Rehab?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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The rotator cuff is the shoulder joint that manages the rotation of the arms and shoulder socket of the human body. This is a complex joint that connects to several tendons and muscles groups of the arm. When an individual injures his shoulder, he has many options for rehabilitation. Rotator cuff rehab is a process of exercising and stimulating the cuff area in an effort to improve the muscles' performance after the damage. This typically includes surgery, physical therapy, stretching, and strengthening exercises.

Rotator cuff surgery can be used to reattach tendons to the shoulder bone. After surgery, an individual is required to perform several months of recovery and rotator cuff rehab. This physical therapy routine includes painful exercises that are designed to stretch the tendons back to a normal length. Failure to follow physical therapy instruction after surgery could result in long-term loss of movement in the rotator cuff area.

Most rotator cuff rehab includes ice treatments. This type of therapy helps to reduce pain and swelling within the shoulder region. An ice treatment therapy program typically includes three to four sessions per day at 20-minute intervals. This provides an individual with sufficient time to dull the pain and reduce the swelling within the joints.


Walking the wall is a standard exercise routine ised for rotator cuff rehab. This exercise requires an individual to place his hand on the wall in front of him and use his fingers to walk the arm above the head. This exercise stretches the rotator area as it increases in elevation.

There are a few good cable routines for rotator cuff rehab. These include triceps stretches, overhead stretches, and behind-the-back stretches. The cable pulley system is an excellent technique to help an individual push his body to a higher threshold of pain. A cable exercise program should be performed two or three times per day with a grouping of five exercises within each routine.

Many rehab programs include deep muscle massage. This helps remove scar tissue from the deep muscles and tendons within the rotator area. Deep muscle massage may be mixed with ultrasound therapy, which also helps remove scar tissue within the deep muscle areas of the shoulder.

Strength exercises are typically the last step in rotator cuff rehab. Once the muscles have become stable, they can be strengthened. Performing strength exercises prior to stabilization may result in muscle pulls or tears. This activity includes bench presses, overhead lifting, and bicep usage.


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