Category Archives for "rotator cuff"

7 Easy Exercises with a Towel

Home exercising can be just as effective as going to the gym by using household items such as a medium-sized towel. Check out the exercises below for a full body work-out:

1) Plank Walks: 

In a plank position with a towel under both feet and maintaining a neutral spine, walk forwards by placing one hand in front of the other for 10 to 20 steps.

2) Neck Rotation: 

Find where the hairline ends to locate a noticeable “bump” on the back of your neck. This is the spinous process for your 2nd cervical vertebrae. Place the edge of an unrolled towel on this spot, then cross your hands over, making sure the top hand is on the same side as the direction of rotation (e.g. right arm will pull towel downwards towards the middle of the chest if you are turning LEFT). Complete a pain-free rotation 3 times in each direction per day.

3) Knee Tucks: 

Start in a plank position with a towel under both feet and keep a neutral spine, then engage the lower abs below the belly button to pull the knees in toward the chest. Extend the legs back to starting position and repeat for 10 reps. 

4) Reverse Lunge: 

Place one foot in front and a towel underneath the other foot that is slightly behind. Slide the rear foot backwards until the knee of the front leg is at a 90 degree angle. Press the rear leg back into standing position by engaging the glutes and hamstrings. Repeat 10 times on each leg. 

5) Rotator Cuff Holds: 

Step into a door with the left foot and throw a towel over to the back of the neck with the left hand and reach with the right arm to grab the other end of the towel. Prop the right shoulder on the edge of a doorway and hold this position for 20-30 seconds while maintaining a neutral spine. 

6) Single-Leg Hamstring Curls: 

Get into a bridge position by lying flat on your back, hands to the either side of your body and knees bent. Place a towel under one foot, then slide this leg forward while keeping the other leg in the bent position. Slide the extended leg back into starting position. Remember to engage the core and glutes. Repeat 10 times on each side.

7) Back Extensions: 

Lie flat on your stomach and place a towel under each hand, then extend both arms forward so that your chest and chin are near the floor. With the core engaged, slide both hands towards your body and lift your upper body off the floor. Repeat 10 times. 
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How to Reduce Interscapular Pain

Persistent pain between the shoulder pains, or interscapular pain, may arise from a number of varying causes. The scapula is the bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the clavicle (collar bone) on either side of the body. The intrinsic muscles of the scapula include the subscapularis, teres minor, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus, all of which make up the rotator cuff. The major muscles surrounding the scapula that make up the interscapular region include the rhomboids, trapezius, and levator scapulae.

The rhomboids are two quadrate-shaped muscles that originate from the lower cervical vertebrae and upper thoracic vertebrae and attach to the medial border of the scapula. The rhomboids work to retract and rotate the scapula downwards. The trapezius muscle extend from the occipital bone of the skull to the lower thoracic vertebrae and attach to the scapular spine. Its action is to elevate and rotate the scapula upwards. Likewise, the levator scapulae run from the upper cervical vertebrae to the superior portion of the medial border of the scapula and works to elevate the shoulder blades.

CAUSES

One of the common causes of interscapular pain may be due to a muscle strain of one of the muscles described above from poor posture, lifting, or twisting motions from activities such as golf or tennis. Other causes may include trauma such as dislocations or rotator cuff tears, cervical or thoracic herniation, arthritis, heart conditions, cancer, gallbladder disease, scoliosis, or gastroesophageal acid reflux.

TREATMENT

Treatment begins by identifying possible underlying causes contributing to the pain between the shoulder blades. Poor posture occurs when the head is forward and shoulders are rounded. This stretches the rhomboid muscles excessively and causes the muscle to weaken. Correcting poor posture by taking frequent breaks from sitting, bringing your shoulders down and away from the ears, as well as evenly distributing your body weight to all sides may help relieve upper back soreness.
Active release, moist heat therapy, and intramuscular stimulation with a physiotherapist are effective ways to release tension in the back muscles.
Consult a physician or specialist to assess for gastrointestinal, pulmonary, and cardiac-related conditions as they may cause referred pain in the upper back region.
Watch the following videos below on how to stretch and strengthen key muscles in the shoulder region:

Rotator Cuff / Shoulder Impingement Rehabilitation:

Advanced Strengthening for Weak Shoulder:

Scapular Muscle Strengthening / Activation:

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Do I Actually Have Tendinitis?

The term “tendinitis” is frequently used by injured individuals, family practitioners, and medical specialists. Commonly present in the Achilles, lateral elbow, and rotator cuff tendons, many still believe that there is a large inflammatory component in overuse tendinitis and anti-inflammatory medication can be used to treat this condition.

According to Assistant Professor Khan of the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia (2002), “ten of 11 readily available sports medicine texts specifically recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for treating painful conditions like Achilles and patellar tendinitis despite the lack of a biological rationale or clinical evidence for this approach.”

Patients who present with a painful overuse tendon condition more likely have a non-inflammatory pathology. Studies have revealed that the cause of tendon pain arises from collagen separation. Collagen is the main structural protein found in connective tissues. When these tendon fibrils become thin, frayed, and fragile, they begin to separate and become disrupted in cross section. This leads to an increase in tendon repair cells rather than inflammatory cells.

There is limited evidence of short term pain relief and no clear evidence of effectiveness when relying on anti-inflammatory medications. A more appropriate term would be to use “tendinopathy” to acknowledge that the overuse condition is not in fact tendinitis. Correctly utilizing this term provides patients with a more accurate description of their condition, prevent ineffective pharmacotherapy, avoid medical costs, and allow time for collagen to repair. Tendon disorders realistically take months rather than weeks to resolve. Allow time for rest and slowly incorporate exercises for area of concern. See a physiotherapist for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1122566/

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