Neck pain, shoulder pain, and upper back pain are very common complaints especially if we are sitting for long durations. Like all pain, this is multifactorial. The way our shoulder blade moves is a key factor in this presentation.
The idea with this exercise is to introduce movements that include the scapula (shoulder blade), shoulder, and thoracic spine (upper to mid back). Repetition of correct movement will help increase the control you have with your shoulder blade movement and subsequently reduce stress on the shoulders and neck.
Start slow and with small ranges. Find a position that is comfortable with no pain in your shoulders or neck.
Begin with 2-5 lift offs, holding each for 2-3 seconds. Then progress to 2-5 rotations.
• Begin lying on your stomach. (NOTE: If you experience neck pain you can place a towel or small pillow under your forehead. If lying on your stomach creates low back pain you can place pillow under your hips/waist – this will help to ensure you are able to keep your core engaged to prevent arching in your low back)
• Once in a comfortable position, place your hands at your side and set your shoulder blades. To do this you want to think of bringing your shoulder blades down toward your pelvis. A tip is try to squeeze your armpits.
• After setting your shoulder blades, lift the arms and hold (as shown in the video) then lower. Before performing the next rep be sure to breath and set your shoulder blades again.