Is Your Shoulder “S.I.C.K.”?
March 16, 2009

What is a S.I.C.K. Scapula?

A term first coined in this 2003 study:

SICK 20Scapula 20Study 20Title

A SICK Scapula is a shoulder blade that has "swung out" to the side (note the red outline compared to the black outline):

SICK 20Scap 20Drawing

and looks like this (note the lowered Right Shoulder in "A" and "B"):

SICK 20Scapula 20PatientSICK 20Scapula 20Patient2

as well as having a shoulder blade that sticks out on the bottom (note the left shoulder blade):

What Causes a SICK Scapula?

Tightness of a chest muscle called the Pec Minor muscle:

Pec 20Minor

Weakness of the Lower Lat Muscle:

Lower 20Lat

and Serratus Anterior muscle:


allowing the bottom of the shoulder blade to stick out:

SICK 20Scapula 20Patient3

How Can I Heal My "SICK" Scapula?

  • NOTHING BEATS JUMPING ROPE. click here to find out how it can strengthen your shoulder.

  • Rubber Tubing Exercise - External Rotation with towel under arm

Standing 20Infraspinatus

and this can be done with a 5-lb. dumbbell while lying down:

Laying 20Infraspinatus

  • Dumbbell exercises. Face-Down Row with 2-lb dumbbell:
Face 20Down 20Row

Face Down Arm Extension:

Face 20Down 20Extension

Make sure to do the exercise along the line of the shoulder blade:

Face 20Down 20Extension 20Diagram

Side Shoulder Raise (Thumb-Up) with 2-lb. dumbbell:

Side 20Shoulder 20Raise

  • Scapula Push-Up:
Standing 20Scap 20Retraction

Note the flattening of the shoulder blade (left) and the squeezing of the shoulder blades in the finished position (Right)

  • The "Sleeper" Stretch:

Sleeper 20Stretch

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Dr. Arnold!