The Best Shoulder Pain Exercise EVER! How To Fix Your “Sick Scapula”

This extremely simple shoulder exercise is the MOST IMPORTANT exercise to do to both treat and prevent rotator cuff tendonitis and tears, impingement syndrome, bursitis, arthritis, and even frozen shoulder!

Although I didn’t mention it in the video, doing this important shoulder blade exercise also helps relieve tight and tense shoulder and neck muscles.    The bottom line…the better your shoulder works, the less strain you have on your neck!

One important caveat:  in order to create good “ball and socket” shoulder movement, you first need to have good motion in your mid to upper back. 

After watching the video below, be sure to check out  THIS VIDEO where I show you a way to get mobility back in that area of your spine as well. 

Then you’ll be on your way to less pain and better movement.  I believe those 2 things will make your entire life more FUN!  Try it and I’ll think you’ll agree!



  1. Hey Doc another great video. I have been in a car accident a few years ago and with bad posture my body has been giving me problems. I have been watching your videos for a few months now, and i must say you are doing a great job, from hip hinging to organic posture to walking as if your being pushed not pulled. You have changed the way I move and I have benefited from it. I'm more relaxed I have better posture and not in pain, Just wanted to say a big Thank You you have change the way I Move !!!!! 

  2. Look around the habitable world, how few Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue….

    Of kings makes peasants, And of peasants kings….

  3. Dr. Steve,

    I am a 23 year old professional baseball player. Two years ago I injured my scapula and have been on and off rehab programs for those two years. At times my scap improves but my throwing and lifting abilities have not been the same since. My right shoulder is rotated down forwardly and the bottom of my scap pokes out from my back. My biggest symptom is the feeling of a dead shoulder or as some websites describe as using a lever with no hinge. I have tried nearly every form of rehab from Blackburns to impulse training and nothing seems to do the job. I was just wondering if there was any exercises you knew of that may possibly help me. Thank you.

  4. My clinical massage/bodywork therapist just told me my scapula is “stuck” to the bone. I am 6 months post-op total shoulder replacement….this problem is exacerbating the degenerative osteoarthris in my neck. If I continue the “back pocket” shoulder exercise you so eloquently described, could it help unstick” the scapula? Might I then be able to better able to lift my arm up straight without pain and that dreaded hunching of the shoulder shoulder?

    I’m not sure if this is the same thing as a “frozen shoulder”. If it is, I would need to return to PT. I’m not doing my home exercise program 100%. My other shoulder is also a prosthesis from 6 years ago replacement due to the same thing….degenerative osteoarthritis. I’m struggling here, Dr. Steve!!

  5. Thanks for the very in-depth explanation on how to do this exercise. I was diagnosed with a "SICK" scapula…a combination of winged scapula, inability to shrug and subluxed clavicle. Do you have any other recommended exercises that could help get may shoulder back to normal? Thanks!!!

  6. Thanks, this is excellent. Is there an exercise I can do to help the shoulder blades stay in this position,

    huge thanks,




  7. I have had three shoulder surgeries including a Bankhart and yet my shoulder continues to sublux and dislocate. do you have any idea why? and any tips or solutions?

  8. Dr Steve,

    I saw your video. I then read this reflection on why this wasnt a good idea

    Of course, I am here since I have shoulder pain (feels like a knot under the scapula, and I get cramps and other pains around my hand)….

    I am having a hard time fine "the" thing to do when so many people have differing opinions.

    Note, been to a couple PTs and found them next to useless. 

  9. I broke my C4 in a horseback riding accident 2.5 months ago. Although my neck is healing I have been having horrible scapular pain and thoracic outlet sorts of things, tingling running down the right arm and a terrible weak achy feeling under and throughout my scapula that was making me feel like I would never recover. I also have 15 years of charting/desk work behind me and the bad head forward posture to go with it. I came upon your “shoulder blades in the pocket” video and honestly instantly felt better with the first movement. Thank you! I’ve had a great last few hours pain and tingling free and am going to try to maintain this as much a possible. The best thing is that I can tell these are muscles that need to be worked, just never was told how to do it. It feels like good sore worked muscles instead of abnormal pain.

  10. I was searching for a way to relieve the increasingly intense shoulder pain and decreased range of motion I have been experiencing. I did a search and found your videos intriguing, but am not so clear on the actual exercise. Is there any way you can give a step-by-step of how to put shoulder blade in back pocket?

  11. Hi Qje ,
    The best solution for the removal of shoulder pain easily with the exercise ,Then you must go the doctor of physio theosophist for a starting of proper treatment and also understand the steps of exercise which help you to eliminate this kind of pain easily and use these exercises in the routine of daily life .

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