T Nation

Help w/ Rotator Cuff Injury


Hi guys. I'm here starting yet another post about a rotator cuff injury. I've read through a bunch of earlier posts on this topic, but all i see is contradiction after contradiction. I injured my right rotator cuff and it is painful moving my arm up and backwards at shoulder level. reaching up is also painful unless my elbow is facing forward. With palms facing in or towards me, i can do pullups with absolutely no pain. i can do cleans with absolutely no pain. The only things i can't do are presses. I can do a light bench press if i bring my elbows down close to the body instead of out wide, but it hurts when stabilizing sometimes so i'm laying off them. The pain got significantly better in the first week or two, but the recovery seems to have hit a plateau. I've been resting it and avoiding painful motions for about a month now.

My question is- should i continue to rest it completely and avoid it in the gym until there is absolutely no pain, or should i work through the pain by performing light rotator cuff exercises to strengthen it?

On previous posts, there seem to be advocates of both sides, so..... who really knows their shit??

Thanks in advance,


You need plenty of ice each time for 20', Anti-inflammatories (Motrin, Ibuprofren, etc) you can take as much as (3) 200mg tablets 3x's/day. Continue w/ light RTC exercises, but make sure you incorporate rhomboid, serratus anterior, upper, middle and lower trap strengthing exercises and anterior delt and pec stretches. You don't need to use heavy weight to strengthen these muscles (minus the upper traps) rubber tubing or theraband works well if you have access to them. As for strengthening w/ DB's, I wouldn't exceed 5 or 6lbs. And you might consider laying of off the pressing stuff for a week or two and primarily focus on upper back strengthening.

Make sure you ice for 20 after doing exercises. If pain continues, that's a good indication that may have significatly strained your RTC and you may need to seek the advice of an orthopeadic doctor. He can order an MRI to check to make sure you have not torn your RTC


i tore my rotator cuff in 1989 and it still hurts to this day. welcome to the club of people who injured a rotator cuff and will suffer the rest of their lives with it.

sucks doesnt it