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Keys to Spinal Health: Rounded Shoulder Posture


Dr. Ryan Kiehart



In my last post, I discussed a common postural syndrome known as forward head carriage. Another postural syndrome that correlates with this is rounded shoulder posture. With many of us homebound or forced onto the computers during 2020, I expect that these postures will be more pervasive this year than almost any year in the past. Additionally, with the increasing stress levels, people's shoulders are tenser than ever. In the image below from Medical News Today, you can see some of the obvious effects of this poor posture:


Image via: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318556

This is the result of muscular imbalances and can cause accentuated spinal curves, putting undue stress on certain parts of your spine and spinal discs. The muscular imbalances are caused by chronic shortening and lengthening of muscles when you are in certain postures for an extended amount of time.


This rounded shoulder posture, combined with the forward head carriage from the last post combine to form a syndrome known as upper cross (see image below). We tackled the top part of the diagram in the last post, and we will tackle the bottom part of the diagram in the remainder of this post.


Image via: https://nwcalgarychiro.ca/upper-cross-syndrome/

This posture is largely the result of "tight, hypertonic" muscles and "stretched, weak" muscles. By stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the weak muscles, you can help combat this bad posture. Two simple, quick stretches to help combat the rounded shoulder posture are as follows: pectoral doorway stretch and scapular retraction exercises. The first helps stretch the "tight" pectorals and the second helps strengthen the muscles that bring your shoulders "down and back."

Image via: file:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/Scapular%20Stabilizer%20Strengthening%20Therapy.pdf


Image via: file:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/Scapular%20Stabilizer%20Strengthening%20Therapy.pdf


Please consult your healthcare practitioner before beginning these exercises to determine the proper repetitions, sets, and holds for you.


Lastly, many patients ask about posture braces. Generally, these braces mask the problem without addressing the underlying muscle weakness. It may help prevent progression, but it generally won't correct the problem. Only through conscious awareness of the issue and muscle strengthening/stretching can we properly address this common postural syndrome. As I have said before, we spend hours each day in postures that harm us, why not spend a few minutes doing something positive for our posture?


Disclaimer: The information provided in this website, or through links to other websites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and such information should not be used in place of a visit, call consultation, or the advice of your physician or healthcare provider. Do not initiate a workout program without consulting your doctors.

Schedule today: If you would like to schedule a patient visit for this or any other complaint, please call the office at 315-342-6300 or visit https://www.licatesechiropractic.com/ to schedule today!


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