Have you ever seen that one of your shoulders is higher than the other in the mirror? It may appear as if you are shrugging one side of your shoulder, but you’re confident that you’re relaxing both sides equally. So, what’s the issue? You can tell that this is a typical problem before you start cursing your own body. Finally, the most appealing part is that it can be fixed. Fixing uneven shoulders is something you should not overlook. It’s not only strange, but it can also produce neck and shoulder discomfort, putting you at risk of future shoulder problems. This article will describe what is most likely the reason behind uneven shoulders and what you should do to correct it.
What Is the Cause of Uneven Shoulders?
It would be wonderful if we were able to identify a single source of uneven shoulders, but it is common for many factors to contribute. But we can also break the problem down into categories.
Structural or neural issues
It’s possible that a shoulder height difference is due to structural impairments such as scoliosis (unnatural spine curvature), a tilted pelvis, or one leg being longer than the other. In addition, a neck injury from the past might cause one shoulder to rise. Suppose you think your shoulders are uneven because of a structural impediment, such as scoliosis or a previous injury. In that case, the best choice is to see an expert physical therapist or physician.
If your hips aren’t level, one is higher than the other; this will create an unbalanced appearance for your shoulders. A lateral pelvic tilt is a name given to this hip imbalance. In a lateral pelvic tilt, the hip on the higher side of the body will be at the same side as the shoulder, which seems to be lower down.
Having one Flat foot
Having flat feet, or more specifically having one arch that is more collapsed than the other in your foot, can cause one hip to be raised higher than the other, causing uneven shoulders.
This is when the muscles surrounding the elevated shoulder are too short because of overuse or tightness. This article will discuss muscular imbalances, which are the most prevalent reason for uneven shoulders and are the simplest to correct on your own.
Why Are My Shoulders Slightly Disparity? Most Likely: Muscular Imbalances Are to Blame
If one shoulder is higher than the other and rules out structural impingement as a cause, it’s most likely due to muscular imbalances that bring about one shoulder to rise higher than the other. When one shoulder is raised higher than the other shoulder, the muscles on the higher-shoulder side are most likely to be tight. The culprits are two specific muscles that cause this problem.
The top portion of the trapezius muscle is the upper trapezius muscle, which is defined by its color: specifically, it’s the orange area. When you raise your shoulders, this is the muscle that gets involved. So you can imagine that if one side of this muscle is excessively active and stiff, it will pull the shoulder upwards.
The second muscle to consider is the Levator Scapulae, which has the same role if it becomes excessively tight. The Levator Scapulae is a muscle that goes down the back of your neck and attaches behind the ear, raising the scapular. If this muscle is excessively short and tense, it will pull on the shoulder blade, raising it higher than normal.
Why do these muscles get tense?
Many causes exist for these muscles to become tight and shortened, but the underlying problem will always be your body position throughout the day. In other words, if you raise one shoulder significantly and keep it there for an extended period, the muscles will get used to that position. In our case, the levator scapulae and upper traps are held in a more retracted position on one side than the other, which causes the muscles to cling to this shortened length. Because one side of the shoulder is stronger than the other, the muscles will draw up the shoulder and raise it farther than the other side. Here are a few of the most frequent causes of one shoulder being raised.
- One-shoulder may be raised to hold your phone against your ear.
- If you choose to sleep on one side, your shoulder may be pushed up into an elevated posture.
- Carrying a backpack on the same shoulder may cause you to raise your other shoulder to bear the added burden.
- If you habitually bend your head to the same side, the levator scapulae will reduce in length.
It’s vital to remember that the amount of time your muscles are in these postures is what counts. If you keep in these postures for many hours every day for many years, your muscles will adapt to them.
How to Fix Your Uneven Shoulder
We can see that correcting your uneven shoulders takes a two-step process.
A). Address the True Source of Your Problem
The first thing to perform is to eliminate occurrences of lifting your shoulder abnormally; which will stop putting it into an elevated posture. For example, if you frequently carry a bag on your elevated shoulder, you might want to distribute the weight by alternating between sides. Alternatively, you might go for a backpack and wear the straps over both shoulders. If you primarily hold a briefcase with your right hand, causing you to raise your shoulder, try using the other hand instead. The goal is to figure out why and when you raise your shoulder up high and how to prevent yourself from doing it.
B). Stretch and Relax the Tight Muscles
This is the most common treatment for any muscle imbalances that cause this condition. To begin, you must loosen up the muscles by massaging the upper traps and levator scapulae. The muscles should be stretched to elongate them back to their initial length after the fibres have been loosened. This is the procedure we’ll be focusing on in this post.
1. The upper traps must be released and stretched
Watch the following video for an excellent explanation of how the upper traps become tense and how to stretch and release them.
The upper traps are frequently tight since this is where we generally carry a lot of tension. That would be helpful if you could locate someone who will massage your upper trap region. It is also feasible to set them free on your own.
Massaging and Releasing the Traps
If you feel around your neck and notice a lot of sore spots, myofascial release may be required. Using a trigger point massage stick to help with this is one method. The knob would be placed into the upper trap region after holding the stick and draping the hook over your shoulder. You would then move it around until you discover soft areas; then push firmly down on them for at least 30 seconds. You may also massage the region with a tiny massage ball, as seen in the video below.
Best results will probably require getting on the floor and placing the ball on your upper traps. You may also support yourself against a wall and hold the ball between your upper traps and the surface. A shiatsu neck and shoulder massager is a fantastic option to use for releasing tight upper traps. The best aspect of these gadgets is that they are not only effective but also pleasant!
Stretching the Traps
It is simple to stretch the upper traps.
- To do so, make sure your arm is secured to prevent your shoulder from rising up.
- Tilting your head to the other side is also beneficial. With your free hand, apply gentle pressure for a deeper stretch.
- If this is done properly, you should notice a stretch across one side of the upper traps.
Remember that if one trap is tighter than the other; it’s usually due to a difference in height between your shoulders. Don’t forget to stretch this side more than the other.
2. Releasing and Stretching the Levator Scapulae
The levator scapulae are frequently overlooked in comparison to the upper traps, but they are simple to release.
Releasing the Levator Scapulae
It’s considerably simpler to massage the levator scapulae than the upper traps, and it doesn’t need as much effort. You can massage it with your own hands, a massage ball, or a trigger point massage stick. To massage your Levator scapulae
- Put the tool of your choice behind your ear lobe. You should be able to detect a muscle there.
- Apply pressure in this area once you’ve found it.
- Massage the muscle and down to the base of the neck with tiny circular motions.
Stretching the Levator Scapulae
To stretch this muscle, you must do the same things as with your traps. The stretch is subtle so you must turn your head to the other side of the shoulder you want to stretch to perceive it. Make sure you’re stretching in a manner that’s different from how you stretch your upper traps. To make the stretch more intense, keep your scapulae in place and even push it down away from the top of your head.
Fixing Your Uneven Shoulders for Good
The uneven shoulders affect many individuals; as we all have routines where one shoulder is raised above the other throughout the day. It may take some time to get your raised shoulder back down especially if you’re tense and keep a high amount of tension in the upper traps. In this situation, learning to relax the traps on both shoulders, much alone one, is most likely an ongoing procedure. You’ll need to massage your trap region regularly. It’s not a one-time event. This procedure will probably have to be repeated multiple times until you notice improvements.
Overactive Upper Traps
People who have excessively active traps may also need to add an extra step to the procedure which involves strengthening the lower traps. The chronic upward pull of the upper traps can be offset by activating and strengthening the lower traps. If this describes you, back exercises such as the ‘prone cobra’ and others may be beneficial. If you follow the instructions mentioned above, you should notice the results after some time.
Just make sure you go after the source of the problem; as well or else you’ll be in an endless loop of stretching and releasing with no results. Also, double-check to ensure any additional potential reasons don’t cause your uneven shoulders. Get expert medical guidance before attempting any of these routines and have a certified doctor evaluate your condition to rule out serious concerns if you’re in doubt.