Treatment For Rotator Cuff Injury And Shoulder Tendonitis
Early diagnosis and treatment of a rotator cuff injury or shoulder tendonitis is crucial to a complete and speedy recovery. Brad Walker discusses effective treatments that will help achieve a full recovery beyond the R.I.C.E.R. regime.
The earlier a rotator cuff injury is treated, the better. The first 48 to 72 hours are crucial to a complete and speedy recovery. The first and most important course of action is the R.I.C.E.R. regime. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral. For the time-being, I'm not going to go into the specifics of the R.I.C.E.R. regime. It's a very important topic and I've decided to dedicate the entire next months issue to it.
After the initial rotator cuff injury has been treated with the R.I.C.E.R. regime, (for at least 48 to 72 hours) it's time to move onto the next stage of treatment. As mentioned before, the shoulder joint receives very little blood supply. So, what can you do to increase blood flow, and oxygen and nutrients to the injured area?
Firstly, heat! Heat is extremely good for increasing blood flow to a particular area. Heat lamps are the most effective way to increase blood flow, while heat based creams are probably a distant second choice.
Secondly, massage! Massage is one of the best ways to increase blood flow to an injured area, and of course the oxygen and nutrients that go with it. The other benefit of massage is that it helps to reduce the amount of scar tissue which is associated with all muscle and tendon, strains and tears. (I'll also discuss scar tissue in next months issue along with the R.I.C.E.R. regime.)
Lastly, don't stop moving. Some doctors will often tell patients to keep the injured area still, and this is not always the best advice. Gentle movement will help to keep the blood flowing to the injured area. Of course, if pain is present, limit the amount of moving you do, but don't stop moving all together.
PreventionMark my words, "Prevention is much better than Cure." Anything you can do to prevent a rotator cuff injury from occurring is worth it. The prevention of shoulder injuries comes down the conditioning of the shoulder muscles and tendons, which ultimately involves both stretching and strengthening of the shoulder joint.
Also, don't forget the common injury prevention techniques like, warming up properly and using a bit of old-fashioned common-sense. However, for the most part, stretching and strengthening are going to be your best defense against shoulder problems. Even if you don't have a shoulder problem now, the following stretching and strengthening exercises could save you from a major headache in the future.
Firstly, below you'll find two good stretches for the shoulder area. The first is quite a basic stretch, while the second is a more advanced stretch, specifically for the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. Please be careful, if you haven't been stretching your shoulder joint, the second stretch will put quite a lot of stress on the rotator cuff tendons. Warm-up first, then gently and slowly is the best way to proceed.
Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won't be effective.
Secondly, the strengthening exercises. Instead of me trying to explain these, I simply found a great web site that has clear pictures and a good description of the four most common shoulder exercises. These four exercises help to strengthen all of the muscles and tendons associated with rotator cuff injury located in the shoulder joint. You can find these exercises at http://familydoctor.org/handouts/265.html
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Article by Brad Walker. Brad is an internationally recognized stretching and sports injury consultant with 20 years of practical experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is also the author of The Stretching Handbook, The Anatomy of Stretching and The Anatomy of Sports Injuries.