Megan, our Osteopath has a passion for fitness and exercise. She herself regularly trains and does CrossFit. In this blog she describes another common shoulder issue, impingement syndrome, and gives stretches and exercises to home manage. 




Impingement Syndrome


Impingement syndrome is when the tendon of the rotator cuff muscles gets rubbed and trapped by a piece of bone of the shoulder blade. Common in people who do repetitive overhead activities either in their occupation or exercise i.e. a painter and decorator. 



If you are struggling with shoulder pain, then the best thing you can do is to consult an osteopath or a chiropractor to get a diagnosis in order to be given the correct treatment and rehab exercises. However, if you know you have shoulder impingement syndrome you can give these exercises a go. 

Pre-disposing factors are the position of your shoulder blade, posture and the general biomechanics and function of the shoulder and mid spine (thoracic spine). 

Shoulder blade (scapular) biomechanics is very important for shoulder function. Here is a scapular mobility exercise which you can do to improve the movement of your shoulder blade. 


Scapular retraction and protraction exercise


Squeeze your shoulder blades together (not done in the picture but have your arms out in front of you) as much as you can and then reverse that movement. So, pull your shoulder blades apart as much as you can. Repeat this 10 times x 3 sets. 








Shoulder function is closely related to spinal function. We want to make sure the spine is functioning well as this will help the shoulder. Lie on your side with your knees bent and your arms together out in front of you- open out your top hand and take it so it is touching the floor behind you. You will feel this movement directed to the mid part of your spine. Repeat 10 times on both sides daily. Put a pillow under your head to support your neck. 








Stretching the muscles of the shoulder. Try this stretch down below. when doing it try to pull your shoulder down and use your opposite hand as a fulcrum- your arm will be sloping so the elbow is higher than the shoulder- this creates a much more intense stretch. Alternatively, you can watch our video for another nice upper back/shoulder stretch. 




Trigger Pointing


If you have any kind of ball hanging around i.e. a massage ball/ tennis ball- you can do some trigger pointing into the muscles of the shoulder. It may feel slightly uncomfortable at the time but if it aggravates the shoulder a lot afterwards then stop doing it. Just remember to be fairly gentle. Place the ball against the wall – then position your shoulder over the ball and lean on it. Use your weight to play around with pressure. Find the sore areas and hold there with the exact same pressure until the pain eases which it will. This sore area is a trigger point, a tight part of the muscle which can have an impact on how well the muscle functions. You can also trigger point through upper traps and muscles just off the shoulder blade closer to the spine. Kind of like foam rolling but more specific.



If you have any worries or concerns, and are not seeking professional advice, please do. We can be contacted via phone 01273 206868 or email