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Can Openers

Can Openers

This is my favorite 'go to' exercise for a great number of the patients in my clinic. Patients with the following conditions have a tendency to have decreased thoracic spine extension or rotation:

  • Herniated cervical spine discs
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Herniated lumbar spine discs
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Hip impingement
  • Meniscus tears
  • and more

When there is decreased flexibility in the upper torso due to too much sitting or poor posture, there will be excessive and destructive movement in the neck, shoulders and lower back. This adds a great deal of stress to the areas and opens the door to injuries. To deal with this I like starting off my patients with this pilates and physiotherapy exercise:


  • Keep your top knee at 90 degrees in front of your body
  • Press the top knee into the floor at all times throughout the movement, under no circumstances can you allow your knee to raise of the floor at all!
  • Be sure to turn your head and eyes to look where you're turning
  • Don't let yourself hold your breathe
  • Give this one a few days, most people don't get it at first

Perform 5-10 repetitions, 2-3 times per day to increase your upper torso flexibility and reduce stress on the neck, shoulder and lower back. To find out if this exercise is right for you, you need to be evaluated for an 'Exercise Prescription'.

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