The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder. Rotator cuff injury sometimes happens during simple activities–reaching overhead too quickly, throwing a ball or using weights improperly.

Of the four muscles that comprise the rotator cuff, the supraspinatus (highlighted in red in the picture) is the one most likely to sustain a tear. Often, rotator cuff injury can be treated without surgery.

Many people have weak shoulder muscles, making them susceptible to rotator cuff injury. Shoulder exercise is both preventive measure and a natural cure for a minor or moderate rotator cuff injury.


Natural cures

If the pain is not too severe, you should treat the pain with ice, heat and rest.

Natural and herbal treatments for shoulder and rotator pain includes white willow, gelatin, ginger, wild yam, devil’s claw, proteolytic enzymes. Others include MSM and glucosamine. Consult your physician or a naturopathic doctor for more information about which treatments are best for you.

Restorative shoulder exercises can also be used as a natural cure.


Exercise to cure rotator cuff injury

Get a 2- or 3-pound weight that you can hold in one hand. A dumbbell, a plate or anything in that size and weight range will work. Only use light weight. This exercise is not for strength building, but is therapeutic or used for warm-up.

Lay on your side and support your head with one hand. Your free arm should rest on your hip, and you should keep your elbow in contact with your hip at all times.

You will perform this exercise with three hand positions: palm down, palm facing your face and palm facing your feet. Hold the weight with your free arm, which should extend straight out in front, perpendicular to the body. Remember to keep your elbow in contact with your hip.

Perform some up and down movements with the weight in your hand and your palm facing down. Up and down movements should have about a 6-inch range. Do 20 or more repetitions. Do them slowly, breathing in and out in a relaxed fashion. Do not tense your muscles. Concentrate on the feeling in your shoulder, and you should start to notice a warm-up without pain. Repeat the movement but with your thumb facing upward holding the weight; repeat again with thumb facing downward.

Repeat again, this time varying the angle of your arm, closer to your chest. Do the exercise again with your arm closer toward your knee.


Final results

If the rotator cuff and related musculature are not too badly damaged, you should notice increased flexibility and less pain relatively quickly, within the week. If not, consult your physician.

Conservative treatment with physical therapy and other mild medications and steroid injections can help improve the symptoms. If these treatments fail to alleviate your shoulder pain, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic rotator-cuff repair.