Posterolateral Scapular Treatment Patterns | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Posterolateral Scapular Treatment Patterns

Here are some patterns in the posterior scapula and upper arm I commonly find and treat to improve GH elevation.

The arrows are not 100% always treat in this direction, but more of directional patterns.

The patterns are

  • around the bony contours of the spine of the scapula 
  • mid scapula medial to lateral
  • lateral border of the scapula both proximal to distal and distal to proximal
  • all patterns intersect and then move along to the lateral and mid belly of the triceps and anconeus
I position the patient in an abducted position sitting next to a table to elongate these structures after prepping with general IASTM or STM. You can progress to reaching and rolling over a ball or towel slide to place the tissues on more tension while performing STM on them.

Treating these patterns will help improve
  • GH elevation
  • scapulohumeral rhythm
  • radial neurodynamics
I have found these to be useful for frozen shoulders and impingements with posterior capsule restrictions especially combined with thoracic mobilization/thrust. 


  1. Wish you were in NYC as we share many of the same clinical thoughts. I really like the fact that you emphasize radilal neurodynamics. I do, however think that we need to be strict about using the term posterior shoulder tightness rather than posterior capsular tightness (sorry to be anal). Do you use the Tyler test much for assessing posterior shoulder tightness? You would love this as a a pre/post test!!! I have written a decent amount on this. PT programs should be teaching this with regularity. I also recommend using Kstar's voodoo band to address some of these restrictions if you haven't yet played with it. I think the long head of the triceps is also an under appreciated player too. Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks Chris! Still waiting for a hosting contact to come up in NYC. I threw in posterior capsule tightness for the traditionalists out there. I don't even use traditional joint mobs anymore! I also don't use special tests unless it's to rule rule out injury or instability.

  3. Will check out the voodoo band soon. Thanks!

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.