Shoulder Impingement Exercises

This tested and proven method will help you treat your shoulder impingement. Learn the mind body practice to stop your shoulder from impinging and experience relief.


Hi everybody! This is Dr Jonathan Kuttner. I’m going to talk about shoulder impingement. Firstly, I’m going to describe how it works, and then I’m going to show you how you can make it better. I have injured my left shoulder and have suffered from the most excruciating pain from my shoulder.

I’m going to show you my discovery as to how best you could move your shoulder when it is impinging. I can tell you, sheer gold, my shoulders are a lot better now. Let’s first talk about what impingement means. It’s a term that’s used a lot. A lot of times people who use it or who describe it don’t really understand what it’s about, so I’m going to explain it.

Your shoulder is a remarkable thing. It’s a unique joint. What you have is a shoulder blade and a head of the humerus. The shoulder blade sits over the back that glides up and down. It’s held there only by muscles. So the shoulder blade, which is the base of the shoulder, has to be balanced and held by muscles on your back.

What you have as a joint, a tiny little joint just in here. The bit that matters and the important part is here, which sits. It’s not a joint, but a pseudo joint. It is something that behaves as a joint without the beautiful, glidy cartilage that you have on both sides of the joint. This doesn’t have it; this is a space. This bone is called the acromion, and this is the subacromial space. This space has a sac, a bursa that goes in and the sac helps whatever’s going to happen in here glide.

It also has two really important muscles that are going to make their shoulder work. There’s one other factor that you can see a lovely round head here. That is the head that glides around, and at the end of it, there’s a bump. It’s a big bump, and this bump is where muscles attach to pull the shoulder up. This bump, and the acromion, which is like a shelf are the key to what happens with impingement.

What you have is two muscles. There’s one muscle, and I’m showing you here. This is the back and that’s the spine of the scapula. There’s a muscle that arises from the spine of the scapula, and it runs through a space. As you see it with my finger, it attaches to that bump. My finger can’t quite reach.

This muscle runs through attaching to the bug. It is called the supraspinatus muscle, and this muscle contracts. Here’s my finger coming through. If it contracts, it pulls the head in and down. Once the head is pulled in and down. Then the second muscle, a big strong muscle, called the deltoid, big and broad. It comes across and attaches onto the big bone, lower down. This muscle, once the heat is pulled in, this lifts the arm up.

You have all the space in the world for that bump to slide under the bone. The supraspinatus muscle has to contract first, pull the head down. When the deltoid works, there is free movement of the shoulder and you don’t get impingement. However, if the superspinatus is damaged or if the superspinatus has just gone to sleep, it’s just grumpy for some reason. 

Then what happens is as the deltoid will be the first one to contract because it’s this big muscle running like this. Its first movement is to pull the shoulder up. They hate clogs up, then it starts to turn and now it digs in and that is called impingement.

If the two muscles aren’t dancing together correctly, superspinatus first deltoid second. What’ll happen is the head glides up and it digs in. When it digs in, what you feel is not a pain right up here, but you feel a pain in your arm and you feel it down here.

People who impinge go “aw” like this. The problem is as you lift your arm up and to get that head gliding underneath, as you lifted up as it digs in, you get this awful pain. Also, once the head is slid right under, it’s comfortable again. But as you come back, it hurts.

You have these two pains. The first is as you start to lift, it’s sore. Then it starts feeling a bit better that you kind of leaned it up here. Then as you come down and goes grind again, and then the pain goes. It doesn’t hurt you when your hand is low down. So that’s impingement.

And the question is, how can you help impingement? Well, what you need to do is a wonderful mind body practice. You have to imagine. You can’t say, I want to superspinatus to contract. That doesn’t work. In your mind, you need to understand that the first movement that you make when you lift your arm is going to be downwards, and that downwards is to create all the space so that you can move your arm.

Now, this strangely as counter intuitive because the moment it hurts, then the first movement everybody makes–because you think it’s going to hurt I’m going to have to lift my arm up– is that we pull the shoulder up. As you do, you make the first movement, you lift up and it’s because somehow it’s going to help you.

The truth is as you lift your shoulder up, you actually activate this muscle and it digs in. So your first movement needs to be a dropping of your shoulder. So you put your hand on your shoulder and as you go to make the movement, you relax, you breathe out, and you imagine that the head is dropping down to create space.

You put your hand on here to make sure that that first movement is a downward relaxing movement. As you do that downward relaxing movement, what happens is the head drops and then you create space. This is well recognized as a way to help you make your first movement. Just relaxing here, breathing out, letting your shoulder go, and allowing things to drop in in your mind.

You make that first, you make that movement and you can see now that I’m not going “ouch, ouch, ouch” which I used to. Okay, now I’m gonna add my beautiful 2:00 o’ clock in the morning movement, which I have to tell you is stunning.

It’s the thing that made the most difference. I’m sliding back. Now what you do is put your hand on your chest. I’m going to stand up and move back. Let’s get the angle right. There you are. You can see me.

Now my arm is down, my hand is on my chest here. The first movement I make is a movement with the tips of my finger. What I found is by doing this, I relax all the muscles here. I just relax them down. This movement here, so I’m just gliding my arm up using the first movement, this touching my chest.

In the beginning I can use more force with my hand and if I lift my hand, it’s like helping me, but after awhile there’s a relaxing here. You make that movement. Now the shoulder is relaxing and my elbow is just gliding.

I’m doing this movement. If I turn to the side, I’m skimming my elbow along my chest and my wrist is relaxing. I’ve turned my head and I slide my hand along the side of my head, bring it up and it sits over there.

So this was two in the morning. I found out I can do this without being in agony. This movement just here, that’s completely relaxed. Everything’s relaxed. Turn my head. I’m just gliding and gliding, wiping the side of my face. My shoulder is just following. Then I get to here and to get back, I do exactly the same movement until I come back here.

Okay, so that is it. That is a divine movement. If you have your shoulder impinging, once you can do this movement, then you can do the next step which is to explore as you move to come back again so you can lift like this.

Then you start to lift like this. Then you come further out and you live like that. When you come further out and you lift like there all the time, just allowing the first movement come from your hand and therefore you’re not going to pull up. The moment you pull up like this, you lost and your pain will return.

So there you go. I hope you enjoyed that. I can tell you from personal experience that if you have a shoulder that’s impinging, if you follow these rules, it will make all the difference in the world. You start off very little and gradually you can increase the area that the shoulder will work so that it won’t impinge.

Okay. Thank you very much. Thanks for listening. If you like this, as I say from personal experience, I know that this will really work for those of you who have a shoulder that’s impinging, please push the button below to subscribe, and then you can get all new recordings that I do because I do these quite regularly. Thank you all very much. Goodbye.

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(1) comment

Pat Stockall May 8, 2019

Does this work for arthritis as well?

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