Shallyn's Physical Therapy and Wellness Services recently had a neck and shoulder workshop and we touched on rotator cuff management during this free 1 hour informational session for the community.
With a known tear, it can be very beneficial to work the muscle in the opposite direction. Since the rotator cuff functions to lift and rotate our arm, this weighted pulley exercise is one of Shallyn's favorite rehabilitative exercises for rotator cuff dysfunction; taking the work out of our rotator cuff and putting it into opposite stabilizers and allowing any adhesions within the rotator cuff tendons to stretch out without aggravating the tear(s).
Keys to performing this exercise correctly: rig a pulley from the top of a door directly behind the shoulder you want to work. Add a 5# weight to one handle. Your hand on the handle should always operate with your thumb facing the ceiling. This allows space in your shoulder joint for the rotator cuff tendons to glide without pinching. Your ARM (not just your elbow) should elevate at about a 45' angle with your body. Find the angle of most comfort for you but never directly in front of your body or directly at the side of your body as these 2 positions encourage bony pinching on the rotator cuff tendons moving through your shoulder joint and can cause or worsen a tear. I recommend doing this exercise for time vs repetition as it is really being used as a self-massage for your rotator cuff tendons. If you have recently had rotator cuff repair surgery, please consult with your physician's post surgical protocol or your over-seeing physical therapist for when this exercise is appropriate to start. This exercise can also be used for anyone having stiffness/pain with overhead lifting of their arm. If it causes more pain, please stop and consult with a physical therapist. You can reach Shallyn's at (719) 219-5865.
Tidbits from your physical therapist.