If you are in the majority of individuals with a bum rotator cuff…
You are most likely doing both of these.
Am I right?
But it’s not really a clear cut – do both kind of answer.
If you do one and not the other or if you do the wrong one, you may make your injury worse.
Whether or not to use ice or heat for your rotator cuff injury is a highly debated topic where not everyone agrees so …
I’ll let you decide what will work best for you.
Here’s the thing…
You must stick with this article from beginning to end.
For the simple reason that I’m going to give you the hands down, straight up facts, pros and cons of applying heat and ice for a torn rotator cuff.
Before we get down to business, I want to tell you that what I am about to tell you is not only from own personal experience and battle with my own shoulder injury but …
What I am about to discuss is based on sound and solid medical research and injury rehab best practices.
A couple of facts before we get started that you should know.
Your rotator cuff muscles sit at the top and back part of your shoulder.
There are 4 muscles in total.
Your Supraspinatus, Subscapularis, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor.
Tears and damage to any one of these four muscles usually occurs from doing repetitive actions and motions using your arm.
Movements such as throwing a ball, lifting items over your head and/or working with your arms overhead for an extended period of time.
Due to excessive strain on any of these muscles, small tears can develop.
This has a knock on effect to the other muscles because …
You can find out more about the four rotator cuff muscles of your shoulder and how to strengthen them.
The torn muscle shortens causing tightness and restrictions at the attachment points of the other muscles.
Your range of motion is compromised and you start to notice shoulder pain – especially at night!
So the million dollar question remains…
What should you do for rotator cuff pain and injury – apply ice or heat to your shoulder?
The very first thing that you may notice is that you have a small amount of inflammation or swelling.
This is common and you should not be alarmed.
Because swelling is not always a bad thing.
It’s simply a natural response by your body to invoke inflammation in the damaged muscle.
When you suffer any sort of muscle or tendon injury, your body initially goes into shock and immediately invokes an inflammatory process to that area.
It’s no more complicated than that.
The reason why your body acts in this manner is to help protect the muscle damage.
This is actually when the healing process begins.
You may be surprised to hear this but swelling and inflammation is a natural process for healing any kind of repetitive strain injury such as a torn rotator cuff muscle.
Check out this article from the Southern California Orthopedic Institute on whether your shoulder use ice or heat for injuries.
So the question remains:
Apply ice to your shoulder which will knock down the inflammatory process and and interfere with the healing process?
No and Yes.
Let me clear…
No for the simple reason that you want your body to be able to not only fight injuries but viruses, colds or any other foreign infection.
On the other hand, I would say yes to apply ice because it is way more natural than popping a few pain killers.
Applying ice will knock down the pain and discomfort quickly!
Not only does inflammation and swelling signify an injury but it also identifies areas at which are not getting a good supply of blood.
Now you maybe wondering
How can I tell whether my shoulder is inflamed or swollen?
Just because your shoulder is tender to the touch or feels like it is a little puffy
Doesn’t mean you have inflammation.
If you can’t visibly see any signs of inflammation, you probably have none.
What you can do is take a tape measure and see if there is a difference in size between your affected and non-affected shoulder.
If your affected shoulder is larger than the other, then it’s safe to say that your shoulder is swollen.
It’s as simple as that.
As for the length of time you should apply ice to your shoulder,
A general guideline is anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes and
Twice a day.
If you are like me, you most likely find your shoulder pain at it’s worse at night time.
Am I right?
Applying ice before bedtime can help with pain relief and hopefully allow to fall asleep faster!
The bottom line when it comes to ice, it’s work good for pain relief but
It’s definitely no treatment for your condition.
As always, keep a barrier between your skin and the ice.
If not you could damage to your skin tissue.
What about applying heat to your shoulder?
This you should already know…
When you apply heat to any location on your body, it immediately improves the flow of blood to that area.
When it comes to injuries that affect muscles and tendons, such as a rotator cuff injury
To help accelerate the healing process, you need a steady flow of healthy, “new” blood.
It doesn’t matter which one of the four rotator cuff muscles you have damaged
Without blood, it will simply not repair, strengthen, thicken and fully recover.
Muscle tissue when damaged requires blood to repair as quickly as possible.
And I’m sure that it is what you want!
If you are suffering from any kind of range of motion or flexibility issues, applying heat can help improve this.
Applying heat directly to your shoulder muscles allows the muscles to relax so they are able to move more freely.
But here is what you must understand:
Just like icing your shoulder, applying heat has it’s hidden dangers and drawbacks as well.
If you apply heat to your shoulder for too long, it can cause permanent skin tissue damage.
The rule of thumb, just as in applying ice, is to stick to the 10-15 minute time interval.
Don’t make the mistake that so many others do, falling asleep with a hot water bottle or heating gadget applied to any part of your body.
As far as devices you can use to for heat:
Cherry stone bag, hot water bottle or heating pad will get the job done.
So now that you are aware of your options as far as ice or heat goes
Don’t you think it’s time you thought about actually treating your injury instead of just focusing on taking care of your pain and symptoms?
Here’s the thing…
If you do not start a rehab program for your rotator cuff injury, you stand no chance of a complete recovery.
It’s just that simple.
Of course taking time away from movements or activities that put strain on your shoulder is advised but
Without addressing the root cause of your condition, you will never be able to get back to things that you love to do.
Do you want temporary or permanent relief?
Unfortunately, far too many rotator cuff sufferers just go around in circles or try to jump over obstacles.
Looking for a short cut.
So you take a week or 2 off, and then go back to playing ball or lifting heavy at the gym.
Guess what happens?
Your shoulder pain comes back with vengeance.
And it most cases, worst than before!
Well let me make it easy for you…Healing your damaged rotator cuff does not have to cost you your kids college education fund.No not even hundreds of dollars!And forget about Doctors, Physio, exercise gadgets.
Recovery can happen in the comfort and confines of your own home.
In just 4 simple steps!
Click on the button below to see a short video tutorial of these steps and jump start your recovery this very minute.
No related posts.