Areas Commonly Overlooked With Injury Recovery and Prevention

Three Drills To Address These Problem Areas

Perhaps nowhere in the body is there more traffic than around the shoulder.  By traffic, I mean there are lots of tissues sliding/gliding past, through, and around each other, all with a specific job which requires that motion to be fluid and uninterrupted.

Due to traumatic injuries, repetitive motion injuries, postural stress, lack of activity, or a host of other possible insults, these tissues around the shoulder can be disrupted.  The normal slide and glide around the joints and tissues become “sticky”, or uncoordinated, and we begin to hear popping, tissue damage begins, and we begin to feel pain.

The reason for this disruption is often not a “shoulder issue”, but a problem of the surrounding structures which the shoulder’s function depends on.  Therefore, when looking for tips to recover from, or prevent shoulder pain/injury, look beyond the shoulder for complete resolution.

Areas which are often overlooked are the neck and mid back.  Here are 3 drills to help these areas move better and why they will help you recover.

Thoracic spine extension/rotation

Due to poor posture and breathing mechanics, the area of the spine between the shoulder blades often gets locked down.  When this area isn’t moving it requires the shoulders to max out their range of motion, especially in the overhead position. Getting this area of the spine moving is imperative to relieve the stress to the muscles and joints of the shoulder.

Neck planks and retractions

I like to break down the “core” into three different cores; one of the neck, torso, and pelvis.  Now these areas function together and can’t be isolated, but for explanation purposes, it’ll make sense. Most of us move around on a daily basis with anterior head carriage which deconditions the “abs of the neck”, or the deep neck flexors.  Much like core strength to prevent back pain, "neck core" strength is imperative for neck and shoulder health. When these muscles are deconditioned, the head can fall forward over the shoulders which allows the shoulders to roll forward, setting the stage for impingement type conditions.  Because we decondition these muscles in an isometric fashion (holding same position for extended periods of time) we must strengthen them in the same way. 

Isometric Strength of the Mid/Lower Torso Muscles

We often sit in the same, sub optimal positions day in and day out. This static position places stresses on muscles, such as the upper trap and levator scapulae, and they adapt by becoming stronger and more dominant around the shoulder.  In order to reverse these unintended adaptations, it’s important to strengthen the opposing muscles in the same isometric fashion.  This will create more balance around the shoulders, back, and neck while improving posture.

Without addressing these areas of concern, no amount of banded internal/external rotation will ever provide lasting pain relief and restore proper function.  For complete relief, broaden the scope of tissues which you are looking to fix! 

Don’t Just Mend.  Transcend.

For more information on treatment or online coaching for sustainable exercise and pain relief, visit or call the office 931-321-1414 to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Dunaway.