The supraspinatus originates in the upper and inner part of the scapula and inserts into the lateral part of the humerus, near the shoulder socket. Assists in abduction and lateral rotation of the shoulder. Supraspinatus tendinitis refers to inflammation of either of the two tendons that attach to the muscle either to the scapula or the humerus, causing discomfort. Performing strengthening and stretching exercises aimed at the musculotendinous unit can help treat this condition. Consult your doctor, however, before beginning an exercise program to discuss your individual circumstances and other treatment options.
Arm Cross Stretch
The supraspinatus contracts to the abduction of the humerus, which occurs when you move your arm away from your body. You can lengthen and stretch the muscle by moving your arm to the opposite range of motion --- abduction. Stand up straight and cross the injured arm diagonally in front of your abdomen, place your hand near the opposite hip. Grab your elbow with the opposite hand and stretch your arm forward, pulling your hand up until your arm is parallel to the floor. Hold for five deep breaths, increasing the stretch with each exhale. Repeat with the opposite arm so there is a balance between the two sides of your body.
Performing abduction and adduction exercises using external resistance will help strengthen the supraspinatus muscle and may help relieve the pain of tendonitis. Stand or sit up straight and hold a weight on both palms to the sides pointing towards your hip. Keep your arms straight, lift the weight to the sides, away from your body, up to the height of your shoulder, then slowly return to the starting position. Perform 6 to 15 repetitions, depending on how much weight you use, and progressively increase the weight. If you can not keep your arms straight, the weight decreases. You can perform side lifts using a resistance band by stepping the band in half and stretching the ends of it.
The supraspinatus is one of the four rotators of the rotator cuff, assisting in external rotation of the humerus within the shoulder socket. This movement is important during the lifting phase of the throwing motion above the head, making baseball and softball players susceptible to supraspinatus tendonitis. Adding external resistance while laterally rotating your arm will strengthen the supraspinatus muscle and its tendons. Stand up straight and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Tie your arms up to your shoulder height with your elbows flexed 90 degrees and your forearms pointing down.Keep your elbows in position, rotate your arms laterally until your forearms point upwards, then slowly return back to the starting position and repeat. Perform at least 10 repetitions using dumbbells of no more than 5 pounds.