The rotator cuff is the group of muscles that surround the shoulder. A tear, an impingement (tendons rubbing together), or inflamed tendons could require physical therapy. An acute rotator cuff injury could require surgery and physical therapy sessions.

A Shoulder Injury

A person of any age may endure a rotator cuff injury. Heavy labor that requires a lot of movement within the shoulder area could lead to discomfort. A sports activity could also place a lot of strain on the shoulders. Any type of impact that puts pressure on the rotator cuff could eventually lead to being unable to move the shoulders freely.

A medical diagnosis will determine if the rotator cuff has been injured. A person may notice that they are unable to bend or lift their arm or that the simple act of shrugging the shoulders is difficult to perform. A clicking noise may or may not be noted when the injured shoulder is moved. The inability to move the shoulder freely or discomfort could lead someone to seek medical attention that will ultimately determine if a shoulder injury is present.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy will strengthen injured muscles, improve the range of motion within the shoulder area, and improve coordination. Physical therapy can occasionally be used in place of undergoing a surgical procedure. If a medical doctor determines that a shoulder injury isn't severe, they may refer a patient to a physical therapist. Resuming normal activities will take some time. The onset of a physical therapy program may require some light exercises.

As a person's shoulder injury begins to heal, the intensity of the exercises can increase. For instance, a physical therapist may initially prescribe someone to do shoulder presses, arm lifts, and other basic exercises. As time progresses, they may prescribe some modified exercises that require the use of weights.

A person may be directed to hold free weights in their hands as they lift their arms or perform another exercise that will require shoulder movement. An individual will slowly be able to increase the arm and shoulder movements and may be able to begin participating in some of the leisure or work activities they formally participated in. 

Acute Injuries

An acute shoulder injury may require surgery first. Once the surgery has been performed and the shoulder has had some time to heal, the doctor who performed the surgery may refer the patient to a physical therapist.

To learn more about rotator cuff physical therapy, contact a health or medical professional in your area.