What is a rotator cuff?

A common move in volleyball warm-ups is to toss the volleyball around. From an outsider’s perspective, it may look as if a group of adults is playing an extremely passive game of hot potato. Generally, this slow game starts with a gentle over hand toss. It evolves in to a double arm, overhead throw. After 10 minutes, somebody gets bored and starts bumping the ball.

What are they doing? They’re warming up their shoulder. Specifically, they are warming up the rotator cuff. Contrary to popular belief, the rotator cuff is not one thing;it’s a group of muscles that work together to rotate the shoulder and abduct the arm. In school, we remember them by the acronym S.I.T.S. That’s Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and Subscapularis.

The volleyball players warm up their shoulder to try and help avoiding particular injuries. Most commonly rotator cuff tears, tendonitis, impingement, frozen shoulder and bursitis. Unfortunately, after many of these conditions set in, you will need the help of a medical professional to get back on track. To try to avoid surgery or lengthy physical therapy sessions, it’s important to strengthen and take care of your shoulders.

Massage can certainly compliment your healthy shoulder routine. A little attention to a few of these muscles goes a long way. Almost any standard technique, be it gentle Swedish Massage or Deep Tissue, can help eliminate the knots that have built up. Advanced stretching routine and acupressure help tremendously as well. If you already have a problem, have your physical therapist or doctor write down what they want your massage therapist to do. The results can be amazing.

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