Do you have full control over your shoulder blade movement? Can you engage you scapular stabilizers when you need to? These may seem like random questions but are important to know for anyone looking to fix shoulder pain.
The shoulder blade is a free floating bone on your back that houses most of the muscles of the rotator cuff muscles and serves as the attachment for many others. Long hours of sitting, repetitive motions, or improper training creates an imbalance in the muscles that attach to the shoulder blade and lead to altered movement. Over time this altered movement leads to increased strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligamaments of the shoulder. Which is why improving shoulder blade movement is an important part of any plan to treat shoulder pain.
How To Fix Shoulder Pain: Three Exercises To Improve Shoulder Blade Movement
Scapula Dyskinesis is the medical term for altered movement of the shoulder blade during shoulder movement. While extremely important, it’s one of the most neglected parts of any plan to fix shoulder pain.
Regaining control and improving movement of the scapula builds a solid movement foundation for the entire shoulder. The following three exercises are great ways to assess your ability to control your shoulder blade movement as well as the rehabilitation exercise to improve movement. Give them a try, they’re harder than they look!
The trapezius muscle controls a lot of the movement of your shoulder blade. You might know this muscle from it’s upper fibers which make up the big muscles that span from your neck to your shoulders. What you may not know is that the trapezius muscle is diamond shaped with lower fibers that span the length of your mid back. It’s these lower fibers that are often overlooked and neglected. This creates a muscular imbalance that leads to altered movement of the scapula.
Shoulder depressions are a great exercise to engage the lower fibers of the trapezius to improve movement of the shoulder blade and restore muscular balance.
How well does your shoulder blade glide over your rib cage? The Scapula Circles exercise is used to passively take your shoulder blade through it’s full range of motion. For those with poor control, this movement often feels awkward and clunky. Be sure to try in both directions.
Scapula CAR’s (short for controlled articular rotations) are an important exercise in regaining scapular control. These slow rotations of the shoulder blade improve muscle firing and coordination of your scapular stabilizers.
Improving shoulder blade movement should be the first step in any plan to fix shoulder pain. These foundational exercises are safe and effective at regaining control of your scapula. The best part is they can be performed with the pain and limited range of motion that comes with many shoulder injuries.
However, you shouldn’t stop there. The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body. Creating strong, healthy shoulders requires a full body approach. Follow the links below to learn more about fixing shoulder pain.