Today we’re talking about neck, nerves, and fast fixes for shoulder pain, part two.
In last week’s blog, we talked about three different what we call neuromechanic drills, nerve glides, whatever you want to call them, neuromobilization exercises to help with shoulder pain.
Gave you a couple of recommendations. If you don’t remember those, go back and watch it, but quick reminder, whenever we’re doing these exercises, we need to keep the tension very low because we are putting nerves under stress, and they are highly sensitive to being overly stretched.
So whenever we’re doing these, we want to keep our tension at a three out of 10 level. That’s job number one.
Job number two, we want to make sure we’re feeling it in the correct areas because where these nerves come from out of the neck, called the brachial plexus, depending on how yours is shaped, we may have to modify different positions, so one of the things I’m always trying to remind you is where you are supposed to feel these exercises.
So like I said, last week’s blog, we did three different drills, so we’re going to continue on looking at the shoulder, giving you some ideas how to improve motor function and also hopefully get rid of some pain issues if you’re having them.
Now as I said in last week’s blog, you want to make sure that you start off by assessing your shoulder, check your range of motion, get an idea of what’s bothering you, because the idea is once we do one of the exercises, your next step is to reassess your shoulder and see if it has improved because if you can get away with doing one exercise instead of six, that’s a good return on investment.
So you want to make sure that you’re checking this out and again testing after every one of the exercises to see what works best for you. All right?
So we’re going to get started.
What we’re going to do now is we’re going to work on a nerve called the musculocutaneous nerve, which is primarily for the bicep.
If you’ve had bicep tendonitis before or other biceps issues, problems with pull-ups or chin-ups, et cetera, then this may be exactly what you need.
All right, so to do this, we’re going to get nice and tall. Imagine we got a ball on the head. We’re pushing that ball to the ceiling to make sure we’re in a good postural position.
Now the setup for this exercise, what we’re going to do is we’re going to grab our thumb. So put your thumb across your palm, and grab it with your fingers.
Now going to drop the arm down by your side, and you’re now going to imagine you’ve got a watch on your wrist. Push that watch band or bracelet forward.
So we’re grabbing the thumb. We’re pushing the wrist forward.
We’re next going to make sure the elbow is fully locked.
Now from here, this one’s fairly simple. We’re going to take the arm back behind it slightly, and then start to pull the shoulder blade down.
When you do this exercise correctly, you should feel a nervy sensation right along the edge of your forearm and maybe right along up into the bicep.
Grab the thumb, push the wrist forward, lock the elbow, take the arm directly behind you, and slowly pull the scapular or shoulder blade down. Tilt your head away.
Once you’ve got that pull, again three out of 10 level, elevate the shoulder blade, pull it down. Elevate, pull it down.
That’s one possibility. You can bring your neck up and re-tilt if you want to do that. You can also keep everything kind of locked in place and simply bring the arm forward and then back, forward and then back.
Multiple options for creating a little bit of an additional stretch or stress on that nerve. Musculocutaneous nerve glide.
You can retest your shoulder now.
So that’s exercise number one for this blog.
The second one we’re going to go to now is called the axillary nerve.
The axillary is for your deltoid musculature.
So this one’s a little bit weird just in terms of the shape of the exercise. It’s a little less tension than the previous one, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to focus on creating that weird little nervy sensation almost as if it’s in a band right around your deltoid muscles, your upper arm.
So the way that we’re going to do this, again get nice and tall. Push that ball up to the ceiling. We’re going to take the elbow of the arm that we’re working on, and we’re going to bend it slightly. All right, about a 30 degree bend at the elbow.
Now from here, make sure that your shoulder blades are in a good neutral position, and internally rotate your whole arm. So from up here, we’re going to turn in. We’re then going to take the arm back behind us slightly, and then pull our shoulder blade down.
Now in this position, I may need to turn my arm, internally rotate it even more, and keep pulling that shoulder blade down.
As I do that, I start to feel that nice little kind of signal, if you want to call it that, that band around that upper arm.
So once I start to have that, so again flex the elbow, turn the arm in, take it back behind you, pull the shoulder blade down, tilt the head away.
Now from here, because I can feel that, the way that I floss this or move it is I just do a little bit of internal, external rotation, or I elevate the shoulder blade, pull the shoulder blade down, elevate, pull down.
That’s it. That’s the axillary nerve glide.
After you’ve done that, again recheck your shoulder. See if it feels more mobile, see if it has less pain or feels a little bit stronger.
We are now onto our last one. It’s called the suprascapular nerve glide, a little bit of a weird exercise.
This one’s going to feel very different. It’s not going to have that same my arm’s falling asleep sensation to it. It’s going to feel more muscular and like a strange stretch.
So for this one, we’re going to be very sequential.
So nice and tall, push that ball to the ceiling. You’re going to flex your elbow to 90 degrees. You’re going to raise it up in front of you so that your humerus is parallel to the floor. You’re then going to drop your arm into what’s called internal rotation, so it’s now across your chest.
You’re then going to pull your elbow toward the midline of your chest like you’re pulling it toward your buttons, if you want to think of it that way. Now from here, what we’re going to do is we’re going to reach up, grab the elbow to make sure that the arm doesn’t move. I’m going to turn sideways here. We’re then going to pull our shoulder blade back and pull our shoulder blade down.
So once again, flex the elbow, flex the arm, internally rotate, bring it across the body, secure it. Now pull your shoulder blade back, pull it down a little bit.
Now the most important part here is what we’re going to do with our head and neck.
We’re now going to tilt our head in the same direction of our hand. We’re then going to bring it forward like a little chicken and flex it down.
Now in this position, what you’re going to feel, like I said, is this kind of strange deep stretching sensation right in this area.
So once we’re there, so again flex, flex, internally rotate, across, pull back, pull down, tilt the head, push it forward, drop it forward. I like to use head motion as my primary driver.
You can also move the shoulder blade forward and back, as long as you’re keeping a little bit of depression there.
As you do that, like I said, you’re going to feel this kind of strange odd stretching sensation. Follow the same rules, three out of 10 tension.
After you’ve done three to five reps, drop the arm down, retest your range of motion, retest your pain levels.
Hopefully, feel a lot better.
If you have any questions about these particular exercises, you can drop us a message either by phone, by email. You can comment on the blog. We’re always happy to help.
Just remember that, like I said, we’re not working with you individually, so you may have to run any of these by your trainer, your therapist, your doctor if they cause you any issues, but we’ve given you lots of rules to help you stay safe, so just make sure you follow those and good luck.