Everyone’s posture appears to be deteriorating these days, it seems. The fact that we spend far more time hunched over our computers or mobile these days implies that the problem will only get worse. Rounded shoulders are a typical postural issue that is characterized by the forward drooping of the shoulders and exaggerated curvature of the upper back. You might be at risk of developing rounded shoulders if you spend most of your time seated hunched over a desk or staring down at your phone.
We’ll go over how rounded shoulders develop and how hunched shoulders may be corrected in this post. We’ll go through some easy things you can do to bring your shoulders back into alignment at home.
What Causes Rounded Shoulders?
Slumping shoulders are generally caused by a muscle imbalance in the chest that shortens the chest muscles while the upper back muscles lengthen and weaken. An imbalance in the muscles that causes hunched shoulders is caused by various factors, including a sports injury or overuse of muscles. The most frequent cause of hunched shoulders is poor posture, particularly due to prolonged sitting at a computer.
You may not be conscious of how your posture may become severely harmed when you’re in front of your computer screen or phone for lengthy periods. Generally, you push your head forward (or down for mobile devices), round your shoulders, and curve your upper back. If you maintain this form for hours every day, your body will eventually adopt it as a way of life. Not only is it an unattractive appearance, but it can also lead to muscular imbalances all over the body, which will ultimately influence your shoulders.
If you keep your posture poor for a long time, the anterior muscles (such as the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and serratus anterior) constrict and shorten while the posterior muscles (such as the deltoid, mid/lower trapezius, and rhomboids) elongate and weaken. The head and shoulders are drawn forward as a result of this. The head, neck, and shoulders are pulled forward by a postural misalignment, putting additional strain on the spine. Studies show that postural imbalances can result in forward head posture (FHP), elevated thoracic kyphosis, or hunchback when left unattended. This is referred to as the Upper Crossed Syndrome.
Symptoms of Rounded Shoulders
Having rounded shoulders, like having wide shoulders, can have a detrimental impact on your appearance as well as several health issues, including:
- Shoulder impingement
- Neck-related headaches
- Neck pain
- Shoulder dislocation
- Decreased mobility in the shoulders
- Myofascial trigger points
- Reduced lung capacity
- Chronic tension in the neck
According to research, secondary health issues like disk degeneration and osteoporosis may be caused by long-term cervical spine misalignment. The forward head carriage usually associated with rounded shoulders is also a contributing factor. Each inch the head moves forward from its correct posture alignment places ten pounds of strain on the cervical spine and neck and upper back muscles, according to one research conducted in Physiology of the Joints, Vol. 3. When you think about how little a 2-inch forward tilt of the head increases your head’s weight by 20 pounds, it’s obvious why maintaining good posture is so essential.
Rounded Shoulders: Treatment Options
A chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and exercise, in conjunction, are typically used to treat rounded shoulders. The severity of the problem determines the types of treatments used in a specific therapy plan. We’ll go through each of these therapy choices in further depth below.
Chiropractic treatment is a whole-body approach that incorporates spinal manipulation and medical massage, and soft tissue release. Depending on the severity of the concern, chiropractic treatment may be given on a short-term or long-term basis. The chiropractor will utilize their hands to adjust the back, joints, and soft tissues. during a general treatment session
Therapists employ a variety of treatments, methods, and physical exercises to cure rounded shoulders and return normal function to the afflicted areas of the body. This therapy is provided in various settings, including clinics, hospitals, and fitness centers. A physical therapist will provide education on home-based exercises to correct rounded shoulders and recommend lifestyle changes to avoid additional injury as part of your physical therapy treatment plan.
The efficacy of muscular strengthening and stretching routines in correcting rounded shoulders and forward head posture has been confirmed in numerous studies. Corrective exercises and stretches for the chest, upper back, neck, and shoulder muscles can assist with rounding shoulders, relieving pain, and restoring joint mobility. Exercises to help you correct rounded shoulders are commonly part of a personalized treatment strategy that includes chiropractic therapy and physical therapy.
How to treat Rounded Shoulders at home
Postural adjustments and muscle-strengthening exercises to the chest, neck, upper back, and shoulders can help eliminate rounded shoulders. The following are a few brief home exercises and stretches that may help you improve your posture, relieve pain, and restore normal movement to your joints. You may do any of these exercises in any order and select the appropriate ones for you. When you know which muscles need to be stretched and which ones need to be strengthened, you may even conduct your own study and come up with unique routines for use in your daily routine. To adjust rounded shoulders, you may do any activities that accomplish the following:
- Pec Stretches
- Strengthens the upper and lower trap muscles.
- Strengthens the rhomboids
- Corrects forward head posture by stretching the neck and strengthening the neck flexors.
Remember that these exercises are not meant to be a substitute for medical treatment. If you’re suffering from chronic pain and poor range of motion because of hunched shoulders, it’s probably good to see a doctor to rule out an underlying health problem.
1. Pec Stretches (Minor & Major)
If you have rounded shoulders, your pectoral muscles are likely to be tight. The length of the pec muscles decreases as your shoulders hunch forward and become tight. This tightness becomes chronic over time, keeping your shoulders pushed forward and rotated internally. Because few people are aware that the Pec is composed of two muscles rather than one, stretching these muscles is more difficult said than done. The Pecs are composed of the pec minor (pectoralis minor) and the pec major (pectoralis major). The Pec major is typically simple to loosen up with a foam roller or a massage ball because it is easily accessible. Conversely, the pec minor is somewhat more difficult to stretch and release due to its inconspicuous position. To properly stretch the tense muscles linked with rounded shoulders, you must also stretch the Pec muscles.
2. Roll Out the Lats
If your lats are extremely tight, this can also contribute to rounded shoulders. To relax the muscles, you should roll them out. Follow the tutorial above to learn how to develop your lats. You can also perform this movement before stretching your pec muscles in the previous step.
3. Banded Shoulder Flexion Exercise
This strengthening exercise focuses on the upper and lower traps. A resistance band is required for this exercise.
- Lunge forward with one foot on top of the band.
- Externally rotate your arms while grasping the bands to have your thumbs up. Exhale as you press your shoulders down and raise your chest.
- Exhale and hold the bands as you lift your arms overhead. Inhale as you bring your arms down.
- You can also try varying your arm postures.
4. Shoulder Band Exercise
The resistance band is needed for the following exercise, which works to strengthen the upper back while also enhancing the external rotation of the shoulders. This exercise targets the underlying internal rotation that comes with rounded shoulders.
To do this exercise:
- With your thumbs pointed in, hold the band in front of you. You may adjust the distance between your hands to create your own resistance.
- When you reach the peak of the stretch, pull the band apart and check to see if your thumbs are facing backward.
- Slowly bring the band in front of you.
- It’s all about the quantity. A lot of these are better than a low number with high intensity.
5. Low Band External Rotation Exercise
The external rotation of the shoulders is also addressed in this exercise.
- Grab an exercise band and hold it in front of your waist with both hands. Hold the band a bit narrower than shoulder-width apart.
- Twist both arms outward and press the shoulder blades together.
6. Seated Rows
Seated rows are excellent for strengthening the upper back muscles, especially the rhomboids (shoulder blades). This is another resistance-band exercise you may do.
- To perform the exercise, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, and your knees slightly bent.
- Wrap the resistance band around your feet’s arches and flex them.
- Pull your elbows back toward your hips and clench your shoulder blades together while grasping the resistance band’s handles.
- Hold this stance for a few seconds, then release. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
Keep your shoulders pulled down and away from your ears for optimum results.
7. Chin Tucks
Chin tucks aid in developing stronger neck muscles and a forward head posture.
To complete this exercise, follow these steps:
- Tuck your chin toward your chest.
- Put your two fingertips on your chin and gently push your head back.
- Hold this posture for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax.
- Repeat the procedure ten times.
8. Lateral Band Raises
According to a 2013 research conducted by the Scandinavian Society of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, performing this easy stretching workout with a resistance band twice daily for just 2 minutes can enhance posture while also reducing neck and shoulder discomfort.
To complete this exercise:
- Adjust your position so that one foot is somewhat behind the other, and place a resistance band beneath your feet.
- Move your arms up and out until they are at shoulder height with the resistance band grasped in your hands.
- Keep your arms raised for three to five seconds, then lower them.
Keep the correct posture while doing this exercise.
How to Prevent Rounded Shoulders
The most vital thing to remember when treating your rounded shoulders is that a change in lifestyle is required. In other words, if you don’t address the underlying problem, all of this exercise and stretching will be useless. If the reason for your rounded shoulders is that you spend too much time sitting, then you must modify your sitting posture. Maintaining a correct posture is the key to avoiding rounded shoulders and other problems resulting from this prevalent muscle imbalance, such as forward head posture, chronic neck strain, and kyphosis.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has the following suggestions for correcting your posture and preventing your shoulders from hunching forward.
- To support your low- and mid-back, use a lumbar support cushion or adjust the backrest of your chair.
- Keep your forearms perpendicular to the ground and shoulders relaxed if you’re working at a desk.
- When you’re sitting for a long time, change your posture on occasion. Stay active by getting up every 20-30 minutes, taking a drink, or going to the restroom.
- Consider investing in a standing desk to help you break up long durations of sitting.
- Stand straight and pull your shoulders back.
- Let your arms dangle naturally at your sides.
- Preserve a straight line from your shoulders to your head. Push the head neither backward, forward, or to one side.
Rounded shoulders are also a condition that rarely presents on its own. People with rounded shoulders frequently have forward head posture as well. You’ll also need to make an effort to correct your forward head posture to cure rounded shoulders.
Fixing your Posture is a number 1 priority for you to make
Rounded shoulders may seem negligible, but they are actually quite serious. You’ll discover that correcting your rounded shoulders has several advantages, including improved posture. Not only will you appear better and have less tension in your shoulders, but you’ll also feel better about yourself. Being hunched has been proven to raise anxiety and sadness. Consider it this way: by correcting your rounded shoulders, you’ll have a more positive attitude throughout the day.
You might discover that you prefer to create your own exercise regimen rather than follow the one outlined above. Take your time and devise a daily routine that works for you. You’ll definitely appreciate it! Another thing to remember is that correcting rounded shoulders might take some time. There’s no fast remedy for poor posture, so you may not expect one. Although it could take some time, as long as you keep working at it, exercise correctly with good form, and follow the appropriate measures to avoid rounded shoulders from developing, you will see results.