Shoulder Pain – Part 2 – Fixing Shoulder Pain with Stabilizing Shoulder Exercises


Fixing Shoulder Pain with Stabilization

Dr. Tom Cotter, DC, DACRB

Ford F-150 Supercharged, Dodge 1500 with a Hemi. Turns out it doesn’t matter what’s pulling the boat. In contrast, it matters how the boat is connected. One is connected with a normal steel hitch and the other, a bunch of bungee cords. The first will move along smoothly, not adding any excess strain. The second will still move along, but will demand a lot more work of the truck to overcome the elasticity of the bungee cords.

You might be thinking, why is a chiro talking about trucks and hitches. Well it’s the analogy I use when talking about a stable shoulder girdle and a poorly stabilized girdle. The stable shoulder is like the truck with the hitch. All the muscles are doing the job they’re designed to do. Everything moves smoothly and easily.

Fixing Shoulder Pain with Exercise

The unstable shoulder (think a winging scapula) is like the bungee cord truck. The strong link to the rib cage is missing. The few muscles that are doing their job are holding on for dear life to make up for the muscles that aren’t stabilizing. In that scenario, the body still finds a way to do what you are asking of the shoulder, but in a very mixed up way.  Eventually this causes a break down in the system and causes a strain in the shoulder complex. This could be in the rotator cuff muscles, the biceps tendon, or the labrum. But something will breakdown.

Shoulder Exercises for Pain

Often in the therapy world people are instructed to strengthen their rotator cuff muscles. Unfortunately those are the muscles that are now straining because they don’t have a stable base from which to pull. So instead of working on the rotator cuff, it’s often more necessary to work on the muscles that stabilize the shoulder blade. Most notably are the lower trapezius and a muscle that sits under the shoulder blade, the serratus anterior.

To address this, you’ll use a theraband around your wrists while you are on the ground on your hands and knees. You will need to place your hands at shoulder width. Push your chest up through your shoulder blades, while pulling your shoulder blades towards your belt line. Your upper traps should be relaxed if done properly.

Now you’ll take your hand and move it 10 times directly to the outside. Repeat on the other side and then do 10 at a 45 degree angle in front and to the side of you. After repeating on the opposite side, do 10 directly in front of you.

If this doesn’t fully resolve your issue, you are having a hard time figuring it out, or you know someone that might benefit from our services, be sure to schedule here from our website or call 913-341-1200.