rotator cuff pain

Rotator Cuff Pain and How PNF Stretching can Relieve It




Rotator cuff pain can be a very debilitating experience. It can hinder your daily life in ways that make even the simplest of tasks dreadful ones. It can quickly lead to acrimonious and invective self-talk, which usually spirals out of control to the point to where you start to lose your vigor and mental edge.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (or Pnf) Stretching may be the answer you’ve been searching for. This technique is openly used throughout rehabilitation settings, as well as for top-level athletes. So, with such a wide spectrum, you can bet that you’d have a great chance of being able to benefit from pnf stretching.

Rotator cuff pain can be the result of a plethora of different occurrences. From overuse, insufficient recovery time, muscle imbalances, or merely due to weak infraspinatus muscles, among others.

This rotator cuff pain may make it difficult to perform at your highest level athletically or even something much more simple like raising your arms to put on a t-shirt. Rotator cuff pain can be a serious problem as you can imagine. We may not be fully aware of how much we use those muscles, but it becomes all too apparent when our range of motion (ROM) is suddenly affected.

How can pnf stretching relieve rotator cuff pain?

Pnf stretching is without question the absolute best technique to increase your ROM. Range of motion quickly becomes hindered once discomfort sets in. Pnf stretching will allow you to increase the ROM of your rotator cuffs, which will allow you to perform activities of daily living more efficiently.

To give you an example, a successful pnf stretching program could allow someone suffering from rotator cuff pain to be able to more easily reach for an item atop a high cabinet in their home, pull the light switch on the ceiling fan, or even brush their teeth. All of these movements, and an infinite amount more all require the use of rotator cuff muscles.




Pnf stretching itself can actually be slightly painful. This is due to autogenic inhibition, which allows you to stretch your muscle significantly beyond what your muscle spindles can withstand. So, it’s very important to exercise common sense as to not make your ailment worse by overstretching it. To ensure that this is not the case, have a certified trainer or experienced professional assist you with your pnf stretches.

It’s very important to note though that if your rotator cuff pain is the result of tendonitis, a rotator cuff tear, or another very serious affliction, then pnf stretching is not for you. It will only exacerbate your symptoms. If you suffer from such ailments, it is advised that you seek out medical advice from a healthcare professional. Pnf stretching will only help you if you suffer from minor or moderate rotator cuff pain.

2 highly effective pnf stretches to lessen rotator cuff pain

Pnf stretch #1 – Stand up straight with your arms at your side. Next, bend your arm (on the side where the rotator cuff pain resides) at a 90 degree angle as if you were doing a bicep curl. Keeping your arm in the sagittal plane of movement, have your trainer passively stretch your forearm by pushing it away from your body (toward your side or toward the frontal plane). Hold this for passive stretch for about 15 seconds.

rotator cuff pain

Rotator cuff pain

Next, you’ll want to actively resist the force applied to your forearm by your trainer. Only a slight contraction is needed. This isn’t a game of tug-o-war. Resist your trainer for about 8 seconds.

Finally, do another 15 second passive stretch with no resistance. You should notice that you’re able to stretch the rotator cuff a little more than you were with the first passive stretch. After this stretch is done, take a very short break if needed. You may repeat this cycle as many times as necessary to attain the desired effects.

Pnf stretch #2

To help rid your body of rotator cuff pain, start by standing up straight with your forearm (the side with rotator cuff pain) raised above your head as if you were flexing your biceps muscle.

Have your trainer passively pull down on your forearm as your fist draws downward. Try to keep your upper arm and elbow parallel to your clavicles. After a 15 second passive stretch is executed, you’ll then want to resist the tension brought about by your trainer for about 8 seconds.

After this, you’ll want to do another 15 second passive stretch. You can repeat this cycle as many times as you feel is practical.

The importance of training synergistic muscles to relieve rotator cuff pain

To aid you in relieving rotator cuff pain, you should take comfort in knowing that if you merely train its synergistic (assisting) muscles, then it can “assist” you with your daily activities that involve the use of your rotator cuff muscles.

This assistance will allow you to more easily raise your upper arm despite any rotator cuff pain you may be experiencing. Synergistic muscles work by helping the afflicted muscle by taking more of the load.

Be that as it may, this can be an issue if you overcompensate these muscles by allowing your rotator cuff’s to atrophy and weaken from disuse. The goal here is that you want to strengthen both your rotator cuff and its synergistic muscles.




The synergistic muscles you should look to strengthen to help relieve rotator cuff pain are the anterior deltoids, the lateral deltoids, the posterior deltoids, the trapezius muscle, the rhomboids, and the latissimus dorsi, among others.

In conclusion, there are indeed many different ways that you can relieve rotator cuff pain. A very effective way to go about doing so is by using pnf stretching techniques. Using pnf stretches that are aimed at targeting the rotator cuff’s many muscles is not only feasible, but is the proper course of action to help you increase your ROM and reduce rotator cuff pain from occurring or worsening.

Also, strengthening its surrounding synergistic muscles like the deltoids and back muscles will help to assist your rotator cuff as you perform your daily activities. This, in conjunction with an effective pnf routine, should yield you the results you desire as you work toward relieving your rotator cuff pain.