Rotator Cuff Home Remedies

When you suffer an injury to your rotator cuff, one or more of the muscles or tendons within this joint of your shoulder has sustained some level of damage. Overuse of the rotator cuff is a main culprit for this type of injury, but the damage also might be caused by aging, impact, posture or even lifting something too heavy for the joint. Regardless of the reason, there are a number of ways to treat this condition, many of which are home remedies.

Rest and Therapy

If you injure a rotator cuff, start by resting that shoulder for several days. Avoid any movements that could further irritate the injury, such as raising that arm over your head or bearing any weight on the shoulder. Most rotator cuff injuries involve a strain of one or more muscles, causing the area to become inflamed. Moving the shoulder can further irritate the inflammation and cause more swelling.

As you rest your shoulder, periodically cool the affected area. Placing bags of frozen peas or other vegetables on the affected area works well, but you also can use a plastic bag of ice cubes or a cold pack. Your goal is cool the area for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time to reduce inflammation and pain. Note: Avoid applying ice for greater lengths of time, as that could further damage the rotator cuff.

After you’ve used cold therapy for the first few days, incorporate some heat therapy between every application of ice. Heat therapy follows the same timelines as cold therapy: 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Heat treatments ease the pain and relax the muscles associated with the rotator cuff injury.

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Along with the heat therapy, work in some exercises for your injured shoulder. These should include simple stretches to encourage a full range of motion, such as an overhead stretch, cross-body reach and shoulder rotations, as well as lightly weighted strengthening exercises, such as shoulder shrugs, biceps curls and triceps curls. Before doing any of these shoulder exercises, consult a doctor to ensure that this is the appropriate approach to treatment for your particular injury.


If your pain doesn’t lessen after rest and icing, consider taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce the inflammation that is causing pain. Follow the package directions for proper dosage.

To ensure correct treatment of the condition, make an appointment with your family physician. Pain and swelling within the shoulder could be a sign of a serious tear to the rotator cuff.