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How To Treat A Rotator Cuff Injury At Home

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If you feel a stabbing pain after raising your arm, it may be a rotator cuff injury. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that cover the humerus. These muscles help lift and turn your arm.

Rotator cuff pain can come from activities that constantly keep your arm over your head , such as tennis or painting.You should be able to treat the pain of a mild rotator cuff injury at home.. Here are tips to manage the pain from a rotator cuff injury.

Apply Heat and Ice

Ice helps reduce swelling and soreness. Apply an ice pack for twenty minutes every other hour for the first two days of the injury. Use commercial ice packs wrapped in a towel, or make your own ice pack by wrapping ice cubes in a towel. Always have something between the ice and your skin. Never use ice for more than twenty minutes to avoid frostbite.

Heat improves blood flow to relieve inflammation. If the injury happens suddenly, avoid heat for two days. Apply heat pack for fifteen to twenty minutes after three days of ice treatment.

Rest the Shoulder

Avoid strenuous activity or anything that causes pain. Light movement is fine. If you keep the arm too still, it could cause frozen shoulder.

Wrap your arm in a compression bandage to keep the shoulder still. Hold the arm above your heart. See your health care provider if you need help using the compression bandage.

Stretch It

Stretching the muscle will promote blood flow. Do the wall slide by moving the hand of your injured arm up and down the wall as if you are washing it.

Another great stretch is the windmill. Stand, bend at the waist, then make ten small circles with the arm. Gradually increase to full rotations. You may also do this stretch while taking a warm shower.

Lace your fingers, push your palms together, then place the forearm and palms on a wall in a triangle. Lay the top of your head in the center.

Walk your feet away from the wall about two feet, then bring the chest down; pressing your forearm and elbow against the wall. Move shoulders down, back, and away. Stay in this position for forty-five seconds.


Place a two to five pound dumbbell in each hand. Bend the elbow of one arm at ninety degrees, and turn the dumbbell to move across the abdomen. Turn the arm out, so the hand points to the side. Repeat the exercise ten times on each side.

It is possible to treat mild rotator cuff injuries with self care. If the pain doesn't stop, see your doctor.