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Perfect Your Posture and Say Goodbye to Shoulder Impingement

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

I love being a physical therapist because I can always learn new things. Just recently, I learned that the month of May is “Correct Your Posture” month. I thought it was fitting for the topic I wanted to chat about - posture and shoulder impingement syndrome.

Oftentimes, poor posture will result in pain in other areas of our body, not just neck pain or back pain. In this post, you will learn the benefits of improving your posture to reduce risk of shoulder pain.

The Posture Pandemic Leading to Shoulder Pain

a woman with shoulder pain getting treatment

Nowadays, we often slouch forward when using our phones and computers, which can happen multiple times a day for long periods. I often talk about posture with all my clients, especially those who have shoulder pain. Addressing posture can be the missing puzzle piece to solving someone's pain in a completely different region.

Posture greatly affects the ball and socket of the shoulder and how it moves. Being in a forward head posture forces the head of the humerus forward too. This position increases tension on the neck muscles and affects the mechanics of the shoulder. When these mechanics are faulty, you are at more risk for impingement or rotator cuff injury.

How Does Your Shoulder Function in Poor Posture? During Good Posture?

people doing yoga with good posture and raising arms overhead

Sitting with a poor posture position, try lifting your arm as high as possible. You will notice that your shoulder can only lift so far before you start to feel a “pinching” sensation. The “pinching” sensation that you feel is called shoulder impingement syndrome.

Sitting with your shoulders being rounded forward narrows the space where one of the main rotator cuff muscles runs through. The more you try to raise your arm overhead in this position will result in inflammation of the muscles and tendons. This issue can result in a lot of pain and oftentimes, people will start to feel pain going down their arm.

Retest elevating your shoulder overhead, but in proper posture position. Sitting up nice and tall, raise your arm overhead as high as you can. The range of motion of your shoulder is increased when sitting upright. This is just a simple demonstration of how your posture affects your shoulder mobility.

Simple Exercises to Prevent Poor Posture

a girl demonstrating how to do a shoulder blade squeeze

I will sometimes find myself in a “hunched over” posture. I will sit up nice and tall and just squeeze my shoulder blades together, helping to keep those shoulders back. A shoulder blade squeeze helps to activate your upper back posture muscles for sitting in an upright position.

Completing a chin tuck can also benefit sitting in a good posture position. A chin tuck is simply retracting your chin into your neck like you’re making a double chin. This activates your deep neck flexors, or posture muscles, that help to keep your neck in proper alignment.

Practicing these two exercises throughout your day will help to prevent poor posture and reduce your risk of shoulder impingement syndrome.

If you are having pain in your shoulder, call us today at 810-215-9222 to schedule an appointment!

We provide free 20-minute calls to get to know each other and see if you could benefit from physical therapy. Working with us may be the first step toward getting back to doing all of your favorite activities pain free!

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