This week’s theme is Support Your Shoulders!
That’s because these incredibly designed joints put up with a lot when you consider they aren’t actually holding up body parts.But your shoulder parts, particularly the rotator cuffs, can wear out over time and with age. In addition, repetitive and excessive overhead motion can cause a sudden injury.
Listen to your shoulders. If there’s pain, there’s probably a reason for it.
Rotator Cuff Injury Happens Outside Sports, Too
Many people associate rotator cuff injury with Major League Baseball and professional tennis. But you don’t have to spend a career firing long throws to home plate like Torii Hunter, spend a decade or so throwing balls at 90+ mph, or serve up devastating tennis move for 20 years like Venus and Serena, to mess up your shoulder.
Rotator cuff injury is a common shoulder injury among non-athletes, too, says the website Patient. Rotator cuffs are susceptible because they do the shoulder’s flex work.
The rotator is made up of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint and form a single large tendon, the rotator cuff tendon. A fluid-filled sac helps it move about easily. This sac is also filled with pain sensors, which are often the first to fire off a message if there’s been an injury.
What causes rotator cuff injury off the athletic field? Overhead lifting is one. Think about how your shoulders ached when you put up and took down your holiday lights. If you’ve ever hung wallpaper or painted a room, you’re also familiar with this pain. Not surprisingly, painters and carpenters, whose work involves lots of upper arm movement, often experience injury to their rotator cuffs.
Preferred treatment includes physiotherapy, pain relief, and sometimes, injections with steroids. Surgery is recommended for major repairs resulting from trauma like a fall that left a large or complete tear. Injuries caused by degeneration over time respond better to physical therapy. Taping the shoulders with kinesio tape like TT TARGET TAPE® delivers support where it’s needed.
How You Can Provide Extra Support Your Shoulders Need
If your work or exercise routine includes shoulder work, you need to add support to the rotator cuff. Proper application of kinesio tape to the rotator cuff area can support your shoulders while you exercise them. It can also help recovery from rotator cuff injury, including tears, calcific tendonitis (a build-up of calcium in the tendon), and bursitis.
Assuming you aren’t an MLB pitcher following Mariano Rivera’s warmup—which included swinging a three-pound ball before throwing in the bullpen—you may want to start with gentler exercises for the rotator cuff recommended by Healthline:
- Stretching inside a doorway by gripping the sides at or below shoulder height and leaning forward until you feel a stretch. Make sure to keep your back straight and shift your weight on your toes.
- High-to-low rows with a resistance band attached to a sturdy surface at or above shoulder height.
- Lawn mower pulls, also with a resistance band, with one foot on the end of the band.
- Lifting light hand weights.
These exercises are among a handful recommended to rehab a damaged rotator cuff, but are gentle enough for those who want to start working out this area. You don’t need us to remind you that regular exercise will preserve and strengthen your body parts and muscles!