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Rotator cuff problems

This week's question

I have some rotator cuff problems, my doctor told me I don't need surgery, just to not lift anything heavy but it is hard to avoid that, what can I do?

My answer - Rotator cuff problems, whether a tear, sprain or tendonitis normally do not occur in isolation. The shoulder is a complicated joint, actually made up of 3 joints with over 20 muscles that need to work in concert with each other to allow for seemingly "simple" movements like lifting your arm overhead. Never mind that the middle of the spine and the rib cage need to move in their own correct way, in order to allow the parts of the shoulder joint to move properly. Confused yet?

Think of your shoulder joint, and surrounding areas like the Rockettes at radio city music hall. If just one person in the middle of the line messes up, you can see how the rest of the line may get a bit off kilter, but does that mean the show cannot go on? Even if that first person who messed up is significantly injured, don't you think they have practiced continuing the show under less than ideal circumstances?

Believe it or not, your shoulder can continue to function correctly even if you have a strain or tear, you just need to make sure the rest of the muscles/joints are functioning optimally to pick up the slack.

This is absolutely something you can "practice" for, by paying attention to your thoracic spine, rib and shoulder blade mechanics. But if you didn't, and now you have an injury its not too late to be able to hang up all those Christmas lights, you may just need a bit of extra help to make sure every other part is functioning well to pick up the slack for the injured muscle.

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