Rotator cuff (RC) injuries become quite common as we age. Rotator cuff muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis, and these muscles basically serve to keep your arm bone (humerus) attached to the shoulder (glenoid fossa). Most often, RC injuries are a result of muscle imbalances in the shoulder, overuse, or falls. The lower and rear of the shoulder gets weak compared to the front, and the tight neck muscles tend to pull the shoulders up-imbalances occur over the years. Most tears occur in the uppermost, or supraspinatus muscle (it’s the muscle that tears when you put your arm out to brace for a fall, for instance). Many opt for surgery because of the intense pain, but it’s very expensive; costs can be more than $12,000, and up to 18 weeks of physical therapy, often with unsatisfactory results.

An article written by Jane Brody, “Ancient Moves for Orthopedic Problems,” published August 1 in the New York Times, lauds  the “outside of the box” thinking by Loren Fishman MD, a specialist in physical and rehabilitative medicine, affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital. Dr. Fishman is considered a renegade by some in the medical profession, but to many of his patients he is a miracle worker who treats their various orthopedic issues without the drugs, surgery or endless months of physical therapy most doctors recommend.

Dr. Fishman has used yoga exercises to treat rotator cuff  and piriformis syndrome injuries, with great results. For the rotator cuff, a position called the triangular forearm support has been shown to be extremely effective. It’s an adaptation of a yoga head stand, and can be done leaning against a wall. Your hands are clasped, with the forearms and elbows forming a triangle, resting on the wall. Elbows should be at ear level.Hold the position for 30 seconds-do several times per day. Dr. Fishman has presented evidence that it could relieve shoulder pain in most patients, and adding brief physical therapy could keep the problem from returning. Go to for more information.

Not all foods are created equal. Though the food industry has long maintained that there are no ‘bad’ foods, five nutrition and public health experts at Harvard University beg to differ.

They looked at study participants – nurses, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians in the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study; followed these professionals for 12-20 years, and found that these foods were the most culpable for weight increase.

French fries, potato chips, sugar-sweetened drinks, red meats and processed meats, other forms of potatoes, sweets and desserts, refined grains, other fried foods, 100 percent fruit juice, and butter.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.