5 Rotator Cuff Exercises to Relieve Pain

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The rotator cuff muscles can be injured in a number of ways, from a sudden fall onto the shoulder to repetitive motions like throwing a ball. Rotator cuff injuries are one of the most common shoulder injuries, and they can be very painful.

However, there are a number of exercises that you can do to help relieve the pain and improve your shoulder range of motion.


  1. Warm up your muscles by standing in an open doorway with your arms outstretched to the side.
  2. Grip the sides of the doorway at or below shoulder height with each hand, and lean forward through the doorway until you feel a slight stretch.
  3. Maintain a straight back as you lean forward and shift your weight to your toes. A stretch should be felt in the front of your shoulder. Avoid overstretching.

  1. Lie down on your injured arm’s opposite side.
  2. Bend your injured arm’s elbow to 90 degrees and rest it on your side. Your forearm should be resting across your stomach.
  3. Place a light dumbbell in the hand of the injured side and slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling while keeping your elbow against your side. If you feel any strain, stop rotating your arm.
  4. Return to the starting position with your arm down after a few seconds of holding the dumbbell up.
  5. Perform three sets of ten repetitions up to three times per day. When a set of ten becomes too easy, increase the number of reps to twenty.

  1. Attach a resistance band to a sturdy object at or above shoulder height. Check that it is secure so that it does not come loose when you pull on it.
  2. Get down on one knee and raise the knee opposite your injured arm. Your entire body, including your lowered knee, should be aligned. Your other hand should be resting on your raised knee.
  3. Pull your elbow toward your body while holding the band securely with your arm outstretched. As you pull, keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down. Your body should not move or twist as a result of your arm.
  4. Revert back to the start and perform three sets of ten repetitions.

  1. Stand shoulder-width apart with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Maintain a straight back and a slight forward bend at the waist.
  3. Extend your arms and raise them away from your body, holding a light weight in each hand. Make sure your elbow is not locked. While doing so, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Raise your arms no higher than shoulder height.
  4. Return to the beginning and perform three sets of ten repetitions.

  1. Stand shoulder-width apart with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place one end of a resistance band under your injured arm’s foot. Hold the other end of the band with your injured arm so that it runs diagonally across your body.
  2. Bend slightly at the waist, keeping your other hand on your hip and without locking your knees, so the hand holding the band is parallel to the opposite knee.
  3. Straighten up while pulling your elbow across your body to your outside ribs, as if starting a lawnmower in slow motion. As you stand, keep your shoulders relaxed and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Perform three sets of ten repetitions.

If you’re comfortable adding weight to these exercises, try doing repetitions with a light dumbbell or resistance band. If you don’t have a light dumbbell, a can of soup will suffice.

While these exercises can help with minor injuries, a major or recurring injury requires more attention. Consult an Orthopaedic doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms, as they may indicate a more serious injury.

  • Swelling
  • A Deep Ache or Pain
  • You’re Having Trouble Raising Your Arm.
  • You may have difficulty sleeping on your arm for several days after your injury.

We hope this article was helpful and that you now feel better equipped to handle any shoulder pain issues you may have. Remember, if something feels wrong, trust your guts! And before anything gets severe, consult an Orthopedic doctor for their professional opinion. 

Also share this post with your friends and loved ones who might also be suffering from shoulder pain – they’ll definitely appreciate the heads-up!

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