Shoulder Blade Circles (CARs) for neck pain, back pain or shoulder pain

Shoulder blade scapular circles/carsThe shoulder blades or scapulae have muscles that extend to the neck, thoracic spine, ribs and shoulder.  The shoulder blades, therefore, can influence these other regions. Having control/mobility over the scapula would thus be a potential area to work on if you are having problems in these other areas.

I often have my athletes and my desk athlete’s perform scapular circles if they have any problems in these regions. They are easy to do and can be done anywhere.

Shoulder blade / scapular circles (CARs)

Shoulder blade circles/scapular circles (CARs) can and should be performed with the arms in any position.

To show the movement of the shoulder blade I will perform this movement, in the video, with my arms out in front of me. I will only move one arm so you can see how much the shoulder blade contributes to the movement. Keep in mind you can perform this exercise with both shoulders simultaneously.

I often start my athletes off with their hands resting on their laps. This tends to be the easiest way to start. As they get more accustom to controlling the movement of the shoulder blade the arm can be placed in different positions.

start by pulling the shoulder blades together. Once you’ve hit your max then keep the shoulder blades and raise them up as high as you can. Once you have reached your max then round/reach the shoulder blades forward as far as you can, keeping the should blades up. then when you reach the end point keep it there and drop the shoulder blade down.

Perform this movement slowly.

Take about 30 to 60 seconds to complete one circle.

Dr Notley

 

Neck Circles (CARs) for neck mobility

This is another one of my exercises that I give to athletes/patients in the controlled articular rotations (CARs) category. The training method and acronym is popularized by Dr Andreo Spina. It was taught to me at a Functional Range Conditioning course in Winnipeg.  I call them “circles” to my patients because it’s easier for them to understand.  What I like about CARs is that they are easy, yet challenging, and expose to my athletes areas of mobility that they are lacking in.  I recommend performing this exercise on a daily basis to help self assess your mobility.

 

Neck Circles (CARs)

The intent of this exercise is to actively pull the neck through it’s full range of motion. Challenging all angles that the neck can move through. Scribing out the largest circle possible with your neck.

Imagine, as you perform the exercise, that you are fighting against an invisible person trying to push you away from your end range of motion.  Often, when athletes are performing this move, they miss part of the circle. They cut the circle short when they bring the neck behind the shoulders.  To maximize the range of motion, as you get your ear to your shoulder reach the head back as far was you can before you start to look upwards.

Take 30 seconds to a minute to perform one rep repetition. repeat multiple times a day.

Pinching pain, tingling/numbness, and dizziness are not desirable.

Dr Notley