Are you prone to rotator cuff problems?  Strains, pains, maybe some tears?  Estimates are that 25-33% of adults suffer with chronic shoulder pain; much of that due to rotator cuff strains, pains, tears.

Surrounding your shoulder-blade, the rotator cuff is composed of 4 muscles that perform the action of moving your shoulder in its ball & socket joint.  The four muscles of the rotator cuff actually stabilize your arm in the shoulder joint so that the bigger muscles of the arms can do the work. Rotator cuff injuries; from strains to tears, usually happen during strength bearing activities where the shoulder joint is a bit out of alignment while being used strongly.  Over exercising, carrying heavy objects, and repetitive overhead reaching motions are some common causes of rotator cuff problems.

The good news is that you may be able to strengthen and rehabilitate your MINOR rotator cuff problem on your own using a couple of simple yoga poses.

Below are two articles that outline the findings of Dr. Loren Fishman – a pioneer at integrating western medicine with yoga. After a rotator cuff injury of his own, Dr. Fishman discovered that by using the forearm platform common to so many yoga poses; he was able to relieve the pain and other symptoms of his rotator cuff injury.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/health/02brody.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/loren-fishman-md/yoga-for-rotator-cuff-injury_b_916728.html

In a nutshell, any posture using the forearm platform (wall push-ups, forearm plank, forearm downward dog, dolphin, head stand) all can help train the subscapularis muscle of the rotator cuff to take over the strength role from supraspinatus.

So if you’re already practicing yoga; you may want to experiment with incorporating some forearm platform poses into your daily workout to see how they help your shoulder strength.  If not, find an experienced yoga teacher to guide you into the poses.

Even if you’re not currently experiencing rotator cuff problems; but you have in the past or sense an instability in your rotator cuff, try incorporating some of these postures into your routine.  Prevention may really be the best cure of all.

(the information in this blog is no substitute for proper medical care; always consult your doctor before altering your exercise routine.)

 

Suzanne Andrew is a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master, Zealot for taking charge of your own good health, and the owner of Island Massage Therapy. Schedule with her at: 727-864-6688 or www.IslandMassageOnline.com (MA51338, MM31363)