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Taking Charge of Your Health


hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo and Mr. Bear,
and today I’m going to show you my top 10 stretches and exercises for a winged
scapula. so let’s get started. Bear, Bear look. oh it’s you. so
before I get started, one of my favorite parts about my viewers is sometimes they
like to send me things. so one of my viewers, Jaap Lemstra, sent me some
portraits of the puppies! look how cute that is. Mr. bear, you are handsome, you
are handsome. so let’s get started about the winged scapula. so a winged
scapula, or scapula winging, is basically when the scapula, or your shoulder blade,
is not sitting on the rib cage like it’s supposed to. and it’s usually due from
some weakness or instability because there’s over 20 muscles that attach to
that scapula. and the most common one that’s weak is the serratus anterior. and
so what happens is usually our shoulder blade sits nicely on the rib cage and
rolls up and down, but the serratus anterior comes in like this to keep it
down like this. but when it’s weak it wings out, so it’s no longer sitting nice
on that rib cage, and then it ends up being unstable. so really what you want
to do is get all those muscles, the main muscles around the scapula, stretched out
and strengthened because remember stretching something out doesn’t mean
making it weak, it means it makes it function properly. so sometimes people
think you shouldn’t stretch, but you really should stretch it because that
helps get that muscle moving how it’s supposed to again. so the first one is
going to be a rhomboid stretch. the rhomboids are the ones that are inside
of the spine, so it pulls those scapula or the shoulder blades in towards the
spine. so a great way to stretch that out is to get into a long sit position. you
don’t have to if this is a hard position to get in to, you can just sit in a chair
or the edge of your bed and do it, but this will get you a little bit better
stretch. so then you’re just going to take your hands out in front of you,
clasp them together, and then what you want to do is you’re gonna punch forward,
tuck in your chin, and kind of arch your back out
behind you. so this is going to be punch, tuck, and then kind of arch that back out.
so since this is a stretch, you’re going to hold it for a full 30 seconds. really
just kind of getting that stretch back in there. and then after you do that 30
seconds take a little break, and do that three times.
so then the next one is going to be the levator scapulae stretch, or levator
scapulae, and so what that does is that elevates the levator, elevates that
shoulder blade. and a lot of times that one has a lot to do with the shoulder
blade not functioning properly. so you really want to get a stretch out. you
want to make sure those muscle fibers are where they’re supposed to be, and
they’re not knotted up causing some instability or some imbalances in those
muscles. so the way to stretch your levator scapulae muscle is if I’m
stretching my right side, I’m going to take my right hand and I’m just gonna
place it kind of up. and my hand’s gonna be back on my shoulder blade, and my
elbow is gonna be up towards the ceiling. now some people can’t do this. this might
be a little uncomfortable. you don’t have to do this, this just helps push that
scapula down to give you a better stretch. some people just raise their arm,
which is fine. you can do that as well. I just like to do it this way, but again if
this is too uncomfortable for your shoulder, then you don’t have to do this.
this is just gonna give you that extra stretch. then you’re gonna take your
other hand and place it behind your head. so it’s not on the side but it’s
actually behind your head, and then you’re gonna pull your head down at an
angle towards your knees. so this one’s a little bit tough for people sometimes,
but you want to imagine you’re taking your nose down towards your opposite
knee. so it’s at an angle. it’s not to the side, it’s not down in front of you, but
it’s at that angle. so bringing this up, hand behind the head, pulling down,
getting that stretch, and you should feel it right through there. that levator goes
all the way up into the neck at that c-spine and then attaches down to that
shoulder blade, so it has a lot to do. so again, thirty seconds holding that stretch, do it three times. I always recommend,
especially in the neck area, to stretch both sides. if you don’t have time, that’s
okay, just do one side, but I would definitely do both sides. so then
the next one is going to be a lat stretch. and yes the lats are attached to
your scapula, it’s just a little piece at the bottom down at the apex, but it is
attached, and it really makes a difference in the function of that
shoulder blade. so a pretty good stretch for the lat is, kind of coming down into a prayer stretch or a Child’s Pose. this is one
that I really like to get this stretch. and you can kind of stretch in an angle
if you really want to get one specific side. so now that you’re facing this way
if I wanted to stretch my left side I’m going to kind of get into that child’s
pose position. if this is too tough on your knees, you can actually start up in
this position and put your hands out first, and come back. so you don’t have to
go all the way down to your bottom, but I kind of like being on my knees. but again,
if this is not comfortable for you don’t do it. you don’t have to do it on the
floor, you can do it on your bed or on a couch, but when you come down, you’re
gonna come down slightly at an angle to get that lat stretch side. so instead of
just coming down into a regular child’s pose or prayer stretch, but you can, I’m
gonna come over at an angle. and I should be feeling that stretch all along
through there. so kind of getting that stretch. if you have something that you
can grab on to like if you’re on a table or something, you can grab the edge of
like a therapy table, and get that stretch. so again 30 seconds. if you have
time to do both, you want to do three on each side. so then the next one is going
to be a subscapularis stretch. and this is part of your rotator cuff muscles.
this is the one that sits underneath. so again it’s kind of there where that rib
cage is, and so a pretty neat way to stretch it is you can either use a cane.
you can use a PVC pipe. you can use a broomstick. you can even you do this
against a doorway, but sometimes this one works a little bit better because you
can get an extra stretch in there. so what you want to do is you want to take
the stick, or the PVC pipe, and you’re going to kind of place your elbow under
on this side. so I actually want to put it behind my elbow where I don’t see it.
then I’m just going to grab kind of here on the top of the pipe or something. so
you see it’s a little bit of an awkward position, but you do want to
get that little bit of bend in your wrist too. and then all you’re gonna do
is turn it back this way. now again this is going to be pretty uncomfortable,
especially if you have some issues going on, so it might be a little bit too much.
some people kind of roll their hand and do it ,and then pull back. so you can do
that way as well if you don’t have the stick or the pipe. but it’s that rotation
going backwards to get that stretch. so since this one might be a little bit
uncomfortable, you can start with twenty to thirty seconds, but you still want to
get in that twenty to thirty second hold for that stretch to get a full stretch
doing three times. and again, this one goes a little bit into the shoulder, so
you don’t have to do both sides, but I would just to keep everything nice and
balanced. so then the next one is going to be pec stretches. really mainly for
your PEC minor, and again the pecs they come up this way, which is part of that
shoulder blade, and they attach to the tip of that shoulder blade there. so
again all these muscles that you might not think we’re attached to the shoulder
are really important with the shoulder, and can contribute to that winged
scapula. so some easy ways to stretch the PEC if
you don’t have maybe like a doorway, you can do a doorway and just put your hand
on the edge of the doorway. so if my doorway was right here I’d put my hand
here and then just walk kind of through the doorway to get that stretch. so you
can do it that way, that’s a nice stretch so there’s usually doorways everywhere.
but if you don’t have that option, you can take your hands, clasp them behind
you. and so this time you’re gonna push down and away, and then you’re gonna
just kind of push your chest up. pop your chest out a little bit, so I’m pushing
out and away, and then I’m pushing out this way. so you can do this standing. you
don’t have to do it sitting. it might even be a little bit easier to do
standing because then you can push a little bit more, but you should feel that
stretch right in through here. so again this is a full thirty second stretch. you
really want to get it nice and stretched out and make sure you’re getting
everything loose and flexible and moving correctly in that shoulder.
so either way for those PEC stretches, in the doorway or behind your back. so
then the next, the last ones we’re gonna go into some
strengthening. and again I really feel like the serratus anterior is the really
the one you want to work because that’s usually the one that causes that winging,
that coming away, that shoulder blade is coming away from that rib cage. so a
really easy, really efficient way to start working the serratus anterior
muscle is you’re gonna kind of, first you can start off at just a 90 degree with
your hands out in front of you. if you’re, if you’ve never done this before, this
one’s a little bit tough because you really have to keep your elbows locked
out. sometimes people think because it’s a punch you’re punching, but you’re
really moving the whole shoulder complex. I like to do them together you don’t
have to, you can do one at a time, but I’m not punching my hands I’m moving the
whole shoulder complex forward. so ideally to really get in that good
scapular plane, instead of just doing the 90 which you can start off doing, you
want to really bring your arms up to about a hundred and twenty to a hundred
and forty degree angle. so you’re really almost like you’re punching up towards
the corner in the ceiling. so I’m bringing everything up, and I’m coming
back down. and if you can see here, I’m moving everything for that’s a
protraction motion, and that’s what that serratus anterior does. so just punch
forward and slowly come back. if you’ve never done this before you, might just
want to start with five or ten a couple sets, several times a day. you can work
your way up to 20-25, and if that’s easy, then you can go on to the next ones. so
then the next one is going to be kind of what I call a modified push up plus. if
you know what a push up plus is ,you’re actually in the push up position.
sometimes again that’s a little too hard for people to start off with, so I like
to do it kind of more in a Quadraped push up Plus. and so basically what it is
is once you get into that push-up position, or that quadruped position, then
you’re plussing you’re going up even further. so I like to kind of start down
in that prayer stretch or that Child’s Pose, that’s the motion you want to kind
of start off in here. and then you’re going to come up kind of almost that
push in a Quadraped, and then do a plus.
almost like a cat, the cat stretch, but you’re doing it in a fluid motion. you’re
not stretching as you go. so then you’re coming back down going to that stretch,
pushing up, push up, and then push up into that plus, and then come back down. and so
I’m kind of doing it in pieces so you can see it, but you really want to do it
in a fluid motion. that’s the best way to get it done. so again, if you haven’t
worked on these muscles before just start off with five or ten, couple sets,
and then do this a couple times a day. so then you’re gonna go into doing some
resistive band work. and so this is really good. I really like resistive
bands because it gets both motions with resistance. if you’re just doing weights,
you can, but then you’re not getting that kind of eccentric work coming back. so
the next one is a bear hug. and so it’s kind of just like it sounds. you’re gonna
put the band around you, and again you can do these in standing or sitting in a
chair, you don’t have to do them on the floor. but you want to do just like what
a bear hug sounds like. you’re gonna come out and around like you’re going in to
give somebody a hug, and then come back out in. so it’s not out and then straight
back, you have to come back out or you’re gonna bump into the person you’re
hugging. so really come out, push forward, and then come back in and squeeze those
shoulder blades in. so out, push forward, squeeze those shoulder blades in. so
again start off with the lightest resistance band depending on what brand
it is it might be a different color, usually with the thera-band brand it
starts off with yellow and then red it’s the next one. I’d always start off with
the lightest one even if it feels easy. just wait and see how your body reacts
the next day. and then so the last one is the serratus punches with a resistive
band. so again if you’re just starting off with a resistive band the first time,
you can start off in that 90 degree angle and just punch forward and come
back. but ideally you want to work your way up to an angle because that’s what
really gets that plane gets those serratus muscles working. so you’re
punching, really reaching almost like you’re
trying to grab the ceiling up there, or the corner of the ceiling, and then come
back down. but see my elbows stay almost completely straight the whole time, or
straight if you can keep them straight a little bend is okay, but you’re not doing
the movement at the elbow, you’re doing the movement at the shoulder complex. so
there you have it. Those were my top ten stretches and exercises for a
winged scapula. and yeah, you loved that portrait don’t you. so if you’d like to
help support my channel, make sure and click on the link up there, and don’t
forget to subscribe by clicking down there. and remember be safe, have fun, and
I hope you feel better soon.

53 thoughts on “10 Winged Scapula Treatments – Ask Doctor Jo

  1. I always asked myself why I have a winged scapula at the right shoulder. Now I KNOW because I tried these exercises out and exactly as You say my serratus anterior is weak and I think it causes me a lot of problems also in other muscles as well as to my posture.

    It's great that You also include exercises for several other muscles that work in synergy with the serratus anterior making this video into a good rehab program for winged scapula ! 🙂
    Thank You very much. This video has made significant difference to my shoulder health as well as my body alignment !!

  2. You are really amazing , you are saving lives thank you very much for every thing you helped me a lot with most of my injuries , but this shoulder injury is really complicated I can't do the door exercise you mentioned in the video the pain on my chest is unbelievable when I do that it's also causes a problem with the breathing I shouldn't feel pain when I do the exercises correct? also if I do the other exercises can you please tell me how long does it take to get back to normal cause this problem is making all of my upper back and neck muscles so tight

  3. will the scapula go back to the original posture if i'll do it? and can you PLEASE do a video about Spinal scoliosis? i am suffering from it and it would be really helpful to see some treatments. thank u! 💕

  4. I am recovering from a tibial plateau fracture and have been using crutches for 2 months I just noticed I have a winged scapula on my right side also the side of my affected leg could a muscle imbalance cause this to happen
    I would greatly appreciate a response
    Thank you for your time

  5. i have scapula little bit out under right arm and it hurts while sleeping and in morning, its looks like little bulge out in right side of ribcage, is there any specific exercise for that. thanks for posting this video..few of these helped me in pain reduction

  6. Great video. How long would I have to do this to see improvement? And how often should I do it? Once a day? Would twice speed up the process? Thank you

  7. ⭐⭐ Leaving a Question or Comment? ⭐⭐
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  8. Hey doc Jo,is the idea of doing them seated cross legged so that the pelvis has less anterior tilt and rib cage is in better position for the serratus work? I noticed huge difference between seated and standing,thanks!

  9. Can I have winged scapula and have no pain because they stick out extremely but they are both equally sticking out but I don’t know what has caused it nor do I know how to fix it. I ask my guardian because I’m 16 and local if I can go see a doctor to see if I can fix them because she always responds with no saying it is probably genetics. Can winged scapulas be genetic?

  10. Is it normal to feel pain during these exercises? Also, is it okay to lift weights while having a winged scapula ?

  11. I have scapular winging but my shoulder also popping and snaping when i rotate my shoulder/arm. It s because i have winged scapula or i have a problem with ac joint too?

  12. Are these safe to do before lifting weights? I feel better if I do static stretching before hand but everything I read says dynamic before lifting, static after.

  13. Hi doc, this is fantastic. I recently had a long thoracic nerve decompression and a brachial plexus decompression. Do you suspect full recovery for people that have this or partial recovery? I know ever case is different. My ltn was mainly impacted and the rest of my nerves suffered as a result of it. Thank you for the positive encouragement and gentle teachings. This is refreshing to see thank you

  14. I really appreciate that you give secondary options for each stretch. I’ve been trying to get motivated to push through with my rehab for a couple of years but every time i try i aways end up so frustrated and give up because my body won’t allow me to get stretches/exercises.

  15. Hi! The stretch at 5:46 worries me because I have rotator cuff disease diagnoses. I’m nervous to try the one after also. I want to child’s pose again when I’m able. The ones before we’re okay. I liked watching this and am going to stick with ones from my shoulder PT since they’ve seen me in person. Appreciate your content still. Thanks.

  16. Thanks Jo! I have a winged scapula and will be doing these stretches and strengthening exercises. Is it still okay to do physical activity that involves the scapula like rock climbing and surfing or is it best to take a break until the winging is gone?

  17. Doctor joe I have a torn rotator cuff on my left shoulder and a winged scapula on the right 😭😭 what exercises should I do?

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