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10 Best Rotator Cuff Pain Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

hey everybody it’s doctor Jo and Bear, and today we’re going to show you the top ten stretches for the rotator cuff. so let’s get started. so these top ten stretches are my favorite top ten. there’s no research behind it it’s just what I found has worked best for me and for my patients. so by the term rotator cuff, that usually means four main muscles.

So supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis, but when you really think about the rotator cuff, the rotator cuff has a lot to do with the scapula and the shoulder blade, and there’s like 20 muscles that attach to the scapula, so when we’re doing stretches, we’re not just stretching those rotator cuff muscles, we’re stretching all the muscles around that scapula and shoulder blade because if one of those are out of balance, it’s going to make everything else out of balance and cause a lot of problems with the rotator cuff. and just a reminder for the stretches when you’re doing a stretch, you want to hold it for at least 30 seconds and do it three times, so that really lets those muscle fibers go, help stretch them out that Golgi tendon organ, or the GTO, you really need that 30-second hold for it to relax and let go, so 30 seconds three times.

So the first stretch that we’re gonna do is pendulums. pendulums are one of my favorites for the shoulder. what it does is it really just helps open up that joint, loosen up those muscles, really kind of get them warmed up for you to stretch. so let’s take a look at that. for shoulder pendulums, you’re just gonna dangle your arm down towards the floor, you’re not actively gonna move your arm, but you’re going to use your body to move your arm making circles and then reverse it the other way. for shoulder arm swings front to back, just let your arm dangle down, you’re not actually moving the arm but you’re moving your body to make your arm move. for shoulder arm swings from side to side, just dangle your arm down. keep it nice and relaxed, you’re not actually moving your arm but you’re moving your body side to side.

The next stretch is just going to be a scaption stretch, so scaption is basically not flexion out in front of you, not abduction out to the side, but it’s kind of right in the middle, and just doing some scaption stretches going straight up and down is a really great way just to kind of again stretch out that shoulder, but not holding the stretch just kind of getting those muscles warmed up and moving, so let’s check those out. for shoulder scaption active range of motion, put your thumb in an upward position and keep your arms straight, it’s not completely out to the front and it’s not out to the side, it’s about in the middle at a 45 degree angle, and just bring it up to about 90 degrees. number three. so stretching with a stick or a PVC pipe, you can use you a cane if you have a cane, is a great way to really get that extra stretch especially maybe you’re not able to quite get that movement yet, so we’re going to do a flexion stretch with a stick, so let’s check that out.

For shoulder flexion passive range of motion with a stick, you can use a cane, or a broomstick, or PVC pipe if you have some. your arm is just going to go along for the ride, so the other arm is going to do all the movement it’s just going up and down, and then the other ones just sitting on top.

Number four, now we’re going to go into an abduction stretch with a stick, so again I really like using the stick it kind of helps get into that stretch if you’re still in a passive stage, or an active assistive stage where you can’t really move it on your own yet, like you’re not supposed to because of a precaution or just because you can’t because it still hurts a lot. using the stick really helps move that shoulder and that arm for you without you having to actively doing it. so let’s check out. for abduction for shoulder abduction passive range of motion with the stick, you can use a cane, a broomstick, or PVC pipe if you have some. your arm is just going to go along for the ride and the other one’s doing all the movement. so it’s pushing the arm up, just set your hand on top of the cane or the PVC pipe with your thumb pointed upwards, and then just push your arm up as comfortably as you can. number five is going to be external rotation stretch with the stick. so the same concept you’re using that stick to push through that motion to really get that stretch and a lot of times again it’s too painful to do or maybe you’re not supposed to actively use those muscles yet if you’ve had a surgery or something, so this is a great way to get that stretch and that passive or that active assisted range of motion.

So let’s take a look at that. for shoulder external rotation passive range of motion with a stick, you can use a cane, a broomstick, or PVC pipe if you have some. the arm is just going to go along for the ride, and the other one’s going to do all the movement. bend your elbow and put it by your side, keep it there the whole time, try not and let it come out, then hold on to the pipe with your thumb up and then push outwards and come back in.

So remember make sure that elbow is not coming away from your side. number six wall slides. I really love wall slides because again you’re using something to kind of help support your arm, so it’s just like it sounds, you’re sliding up the wall, but it’s great because instead of actively doing it all by yourself, you have the wall to kind of help support your arm, and you also have that wall to kind of lean against and push up against to get that extra stretch, so it’s a great way to get that stretch. let’s check it out. for a shoulder wall slide, place your hand on the wall with your thumb facing outwards, slide your hand up the wall as far as you comfortably can.

Number seven internal rotation stretch with the towel. this one’s kind of tough. it’s a little bit uncomfortable, but it’s going to be the one that helps get that arm up behind your back, that internal rotation motion. it’s not always comfortable sometimes a little bit painful if you’ve had that rotator cuff injury, this is usually the hardest one to get back, but using a towel really helps stretch and get that movement back. so let’s take a look at that. for an internal rotation towel stretch, roll up a towel and with the hand that you’re not going to stretch with, put it up and behind you. then the one you want to stretch it’s going to go down behind you and then you’re going to pull upwards. so I’m gonna turn around so you can see it. number eight. another great way to get that internal rotation, but not maybe going back behind you but just getting that internal rotation stretch is what we call a sleeper stretch.

This one’s really great too, and you can use your other arm to kind of help push through it which is nice again it’s a little uncomfortable, but you know you don’t want to be in pain while you’re doing it, you just want to feel a lot of tension while you’re doing it. so let’s check it out. for shoulder internal rotation sleeper stretch, the arm that you’re going to stretch is on the ground.

Put your shoulder and elbow at about a ninety degree angle, and then take your other hand and push it downwards towards the floor until you feel a stretch. number nine a corner stretch. this is really just to help open up those chest muscles .it’s a great way again to get that stretch using the wall to kind of help push through that stretch and all these muscles in here. again some of them might not specifically be those rotator cuff muscles, but they’re muscles that are really important to keep stretched and loose and help that whole rotator cuff in general, so let’s check out the corner stretch. for a corner chest stretch, place a hand on each side of the corner and one foot in the corner then push in and hold the stretch. number ten a prayer stretch, or in yoga sometimes they call it the Child’s Pose.

this is another one of my favorites because if you can get comfortably in this position you can just relax your whole body and let your shoulders get that stretch. you can go a little bit side to side or you can just go straight down for that shoulder flexion. I really really like this one so let’s check it out. for the prayer stretch, start off sitting on your feet and then you’re going to push your arms straight out in front of you on the ground holding the stretch. so there you have, it those were the top ten stretches for the rotator cuff. if you’d like to help support my channel, make sure you click on the link up here to find out how, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down here, and remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon..

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