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What is a Rotator Cuff? 

The rotator cuff is made up of a group of muscles and tendons located in the shoulder. These muscles and tendons work together to hold the shoulder in place and allow us to move, lift, and swing our arms freely. As one of the most relied on group of muscles for arm movement, the rotator cuff is prone to injury. 
 
We use our rotator cuffs every single day to carry out tasks such as washing and brushing our hair, reaching something off a shelf, or waving our arms. When a client complains of shoulder pain it’s more than likely one or several of the following muscles that make up the rotator cuff that’s causing problems. 

Which muscles make up the rotator cuff? 

• Supraspinatus 
• Infraspinatus 
• Teres minor 
• Subscapularis 

What is a rotator cuff injury? 

A rotator cuff injury is caused by damage to any of the muscles or tendons in the shoulder mentioned above. We see rotator cuff injuries often and they aren’t always the result of sport injury. Rotator cuff injuries are commonly caused by repetitive strain on the area and overuse of the rotator cuff structures. People with jobs that are constantly performing overhead movements, such as painters or carpenters, are exposed to a higher risk of wear and tear of the rotator cuff. 
 
Popular symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are weakness in the arm, discomfort in the shoulder muscles, or deep pain within the shoulder joint. 

How can I treat or prevent rotator cuff injuries? 

As massage therapists we strongly believe that prevention of injury is always key. If you’ve noticed that you’re constantly using overhead movements or feeling discomfort in the area, then strengthening the rotator cuff is essential in order to prevent further wear and tear and potential damage. 
 
If you’ve already suffered a rotator cuff injury, there are many ways to manage the symptoms and improve pain levels. To increase flexibility following a rotator cuff injury there are many exercises and sports massage techniques that can help. 
 
Tagged as: injury prevention
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