Shoulder Impingement and Postural Dysfunction Pain Exercise

 In Upper Limb

Exercise for Shoulder Impingement and Postural Dysfunction pain

Often a real contributor of shoulder and thoracic spine (mid back) pain is due to postural problems. When someone is slumped forwards in the way they sit, and fundamentally the way they move, this changes their shoulder biomechanics. If you have a look at yourself in the mirror and you notice that your shoulders are rounded forwards or your neck pokes out forwards then it is likely this postural issue may be contributing to your shoulder pain.

The scapula also known as your shoulder blade is stabilized by certain muscles in the back. These muscles play a very important role in the way the shoulder works. The shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) is highly impacted by the placement of the shoulder blade and therefore it is essential to make sure the shoulder blade is sitting in functional position for efficient smooth integration of movement of the glenohumeral joint (arm bone to shoulder blade).

The muscles that control the scapula are the trapezius, serratus anterior, rhomboids, levator scapulae and pectoralis minor. The rhomboids originate on T2-5 spinous processes (spinal bones) to the medial (inner most) portion of the scapula. This particular muscle is often lengthened due to poor posture and therefore it is biomechanically at a greater disadvantage to move and work. It is important to get this muscle activated and strengthened in order to help correct postural problems causing shoulder pain and impingement.

A great exercise to improve rhomboid strength is called rows. To carry out rows you will need a theraband. Attach the theraband to something at home that isn’t going to move when you pull on the piece of equipment (I often get clients to attach middle of the band to a door handle, leaving two parts of the band on either side to hold onto). After you have attached the band then grab hold the two pieces of theraband facing the door or wherever you have attached it to. Then have your arms at 90 degrees of elbow flexion (elbows close to your sides and forearm parallel to the floor). Then begin to pull the bands with your arms towards youself. Make sure you pinch your shoulder blades together while you carry out this movement, as the exercise is to strengthen you rhomboids which are a part of your back muscles and therefore you should be feeling the “working out” sensation in your back more than your arms. Carry out 10 reps x 3 sets every day to help build strength.


Vianna Ross
MPhysio, B.A. PhEd



Brukner, P. (2012). Brukner & Khan’s clinical sports medicine. McGraw-Hill.

pain free performance Gold Coast physio

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