Are you suffering from rounded shoulders and wondering what steps you can take to feel better?
Rounded shoulder is an all-too-common postural misalignment that affects millions of people globally.
Also known as "mom posture," this health condition is characterized by a forward-leaning posture of the shoulders and can lead to a host of problems that make everyday leisure activities difficult.
When left unchecked, rounded shoulders can lead to chronic pain and even permanent changes in your physical body. Fortunately, there are a few healthy strategies you can implement to help correct this problem and improve your posture.
In this article, we'll explore a few of them and how they can help you get back on track to having a healthy body shape, inside and out.
But first, let's look at what rounded shoulders entail and the telltale signs you're suffering from this condition.
Let's get started!
Rounded Shoulders Explained
When the phrase "rounded shoulders" comes to mind, what do you imagine?
A hunchback posture? Or perhaps a slumped-forward position with your shoulders and neck bent forward?
While these are certainly signs of rounded shoulders, it's actually a misalignment of the shoulder blades (scapulae) that causes them to rotate forward. When our shoulder blades rotate, the muscles between them become tight, making it difficult to move our arms without discomfort.
Causes of rounded shoulders are wide and varied. For instance, individuals who work in front of a computer screen for hours on end are at risk of developing rounded shoulders due to their posture.
Poor ergonomic practices and inadequate stretching routines can also contribute to this health condition. In certain cases, lifestyle changes are also known to take their toll on the body, making us vulnerable to slumped shoulders.
Now that we've gone over what rounded shoulders are, let's explore just how you can tell you are dealing with this medical condition.
Signs and symptoms
Dealing with rounded shoulders is no walk in the park.
Patients with this health condition typically experience a number of painful symptoms, such as:
Pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, and arms
A common way to tell if you have rounded shoulders is if you experience a great deal of upper back, shoulder, and neck pain.
This pain occurs due to tightness in your upper back and neck muscles, which can make performing everyday activities difficult. People dealing with rounded shoulder positions may also experience tension headaches due to strain on the cervical spine.
Limited range of motion
Having a limited range of motion is another way to tell if you have rounded shoulders. Patients with this condition typically feel like they can't move their arms above shoulder height without discomfort or pain.
This is due to the tightness in the shoulder area, which restricts the joint's ability to move freely. Oftentimes, patients with rounded or hunched shoulders may also experience a decrease in their athletic performance due to a lack of range of motion.
A forward-leaning posture
Do you often find yourself leaning forward when you sit or stand?
If so, this could be a sign of rounded shoulders.
The misalignment of the shoulder blades causes the chest to collapse inward, resulting in a slouching posture. Over time, this can become a permanent habit and lead to further issues down the line.
Increased mental stress
Experiencing increased mental stress is another telltale sign of rounded shoulders.
Due to the physical pain and discomfort associated with this condition, individuals may feel overwhelmed or stressed out on a daily basis.
Mental stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as difficulty sleeping, heightened anxiety levels, and feeling overwhelmed. Other symptoms that may appear include a decrease in motivation and a lack of focus.
Now that we've gone over the symptoms of rounded shoulders, let's take a look at some healthy strategies you can use to combat this health condition.
Healthy Tips to Correct Rounded Shoulders
While rounded shoulders may seem like an incurable condition, there are a few steps you can take to help correct them and restore your normal posture. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Follow a balanced exercise program
A first line of defense against rounded shoulders is to create a balanced exercise program that focuses on strengthening weak muscles in your neck and upper back area.
This will help reduce shoulder blade pain and loosen up tight muscles in your upper back and neck area. Stretches can include things like chest openers, reverse shoulder stretching, and banded exercises, while strengthening exercises can include things like wall stretches, bent-over rows, and scapular retractions.
Here's how they play a role in addressing rounded shoulders:
Band pull-apart exercise
If you're looking to strengthen your shoulder muscles, then the band pull-apart is a great exercise to incorporate into your routine.
To perform this move, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a resistance band in both hands in front of you at chest height. Keep your elbows straight and slowly pull the exercise band apart, stretching it from chest to shoulder level.
Pause for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
Chest doorway stretch
A second exercise that can help correct rounded shoulders is the chest doorway stretch.
Benefits of a chest opener stretch include increased shoulder mobility and corrected rounded shoulder posture. To perform this move, stand in a doorway with your arms at shoulder height on either side of the frame.
Perform a slow forward lean to stretch your chest, hold briefly, then return to the starting position. Once you have the hang of this exercise, repeat 3 to 5 times.
Reverse shoulder stretch
One of the best stretches you can do to help correct rounded shoulders is the reverse shoulder stretch.
To perform this move, stand with your feet hip-width apart and extend both arms out in front of you at chest height. Clasp your hands together and gently rotate your palms away from your body. Hold for 20 seconds and then release.
Doing this stretch regularly will help to open up your chest and shoulders, allowing you to move with more ease and comfort.
Rounded shoulders can also be relieved by performing neck rolls.
It involves gently rolling your head in a circular motion, as if you are tracing the shape of a clock with your chin. Make sure to be mindful of the range of motion and to move slowly and smoothly.
Try to incorporate these gentle stretches into your daily routine to help reduce the symptoms of rounded shoulders.
Scapular wall slides
Performing scapular wall slides is also beneficial for relieving rounded shoulders.
However, you'll need to stand beside a wall for this simple exercise.
To get started, stand with your back flush against the wall and your feet hip-width apart. Place both hands on the wall above your head and slide them up as high as you can reach while keeping your elbows straight. Then, slowly slide your hands down to the starting position.
Doing this basic exercise regularly will help to strengthen the muscles around your shoulder blades, which in turn will help correct rounded shoulders.
Bent-over rows are a great exercise to strengthen and engage your postural muscles.
To perform this shoulder extension exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hinge forward at the waist so that your back is parallel to the ground. Make sure to keep your spine in neutral alignment and pull the weights up towards your chest while keeping your elbows close to your body.
Hold the position for 10 seconds and then release.
Use braces or supportive devices to correct posture and alignment
In addition to regular shoulder exercises, another way to combat rounded shoulders is to use braces or supportive devices.
These can help correct posture and alignment of the shoulder blades, as well as reduce any pain associated with bad postural habits. Braces are designed to keep the shoulders in a neutral position while providing support for your entire muslces.
There are several different types of braces and supportive devices available that can help improve posture, so make sure to research them thoroughly before choosing one.
Use a massage tool
Treating yourself to a massage can also help combat rounded shoulders.
Massage therapy helps to soothe and relax muscles that may have become tight due to misalignment or a lack of movement. This can help restore balance in your body, allowing for better posture and improved mobility.
Popular massage tools proven to help with rounded shoulders include foam rollers, massage guns, and massage balls. Here's how they play a role in rehabilitation:
One of the most effective massage tools for rounded shoulders is a foam roller.
Known for its deep tissue massage, this massage tool works by using your own bodyweight to roll out tight muscles and knots around your shoulder blades. It's also great for improving posture by helping to deep-stretch your chest muscles for a more open, relaxed posture.
Foam rollers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so it's best to do your research before purchasing one. The goal is to find a foam roller that will provide the most comfort and relief for your shoulders.
Percussion massage guns
If you are after an intensive, targeted massage then you might want to consider using a massage gun.
These electronic massage tools offer a deep, powerful massage by providing rapid percussive action that releases tight muscles and knots deep within your shoulder blades. Massage guns are also a great way to relieve pain, improve shoulder flexibility, and promote relaxation.
What makes massage guns a favorite among people dealing with rounded shoulders is their versatility and convenience.
Popular models like the Fusion Elite and Mini come with several different massage heads that can be used to target different areas of the body. This allows for a personalized, targeted massage experience that feels comfortable and effective.
You can use them anytime and anywhere, without the need for a massage therapist.
Another popular massage tool for rounded shoulders is the massage ball.
These small, handheld balls allow you to apply pressure and massage tight knots in your shoulder area with ease. Massage balls can be used on the floor or against a wall, whichever you find more comfortable.
The great thing about massage balls is that they are portable and can be used anytime, anywhere. This makes them a great tool for anyone who wants to relieve pain and tension in their shoulders while on the go.
Popular types of massage balls include lacrosse balls, tennis balls, and PVC-based massage balls.
Try physical therapy
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to help relieve rounded shoulders is to seek out physical therapy.
Physical therapists are trained to help assess, diagnose, and treat any common issues related to poor posture or alignment. If you have been experiencing rounded shoulders, they can design a specialized rehabilitation program tailored to your individual needs.
Your therapist may suggest a variety of corrective exercises and stretches that can be done at home. They may also make recommendations regarding lifestyle changes, such as ergonomic adjustments to your workstation or chair.
Getting professional help is a great way to ensure that you are on the right track with your recovery so that you can get back to living life without pain.
Visit a chiropractor
Visiting a chiropractor can be extremely beneficial when looking to correct rounded shoulders.
Chiropractors are trained to help identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to your discomfort. They will also provide hands-on treatments such as spinal manipulation, mobilization, and massage that can help restore alignment and improve range of motion.
With the help of a chiropractor, you can get back on track to living life without pain and discomfort.
These are just a few of the options available when it comes to relieving slouched shoulders.
From massage tools to physical therapy and chiropractic care, there are plenty of ways to get back on track with your health and wellness goals. Next, we'll take a look at some ways you can prevent rounded shoulders in the first place.
Preventing Rounded Shoulders
In addition to the treatments mentioned above, there are also a few lifestyle changes you can make to help combat rounded shoulders.
Some of the most important include:
Be conscious of your posture
Another way to prevent rounded shoulders is to be conscious of your posture.
Sitting or standing in a slouched position for prolonged periods of time can put undue strain on your shoulder plates, leading to misalignment and discomfort.
You can help correct your poor posture by consciously being aware of how you are sitting or standing and making adjustments as needed.
For example, when sitting at a desk, make sure to sit up straight with your shoulders back and your chin level. If you are standing for an extended period, try not to lean forward or hunch over.
This way, you can help ensure your upper body is in proper alignment and decrease your chances of developing rounded shoulders.
Maintain a healthy weight
Are you carrying around a few extra pounds?
Carrying excess weight can put strain on your spine and shoulders, which can contribute to rounded shoulders. Try to maintain a healthy body weight by exercising regularly, avoiding processed foods, and eating a balanced diet.
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, can help reduce inflammation and improve joint mobility.
Sleep in the right position
How you sleep can play a big role in whether or not you develop rounded shoulders.
Most people tend to sleep on their side or stomach, which can put strain on the shoulders and neck.
To prevent this, try to sleep on your back as much as possible. This will allow the shoulders and neck to relax into a more natural position. You can also try tucking a pillow or two underneath your neck to help keep it in the correct position.
This way, you can ensure that your posture is in the best position when you wake up.
Use proper ergonomics at work
One of the simplest ways to prevent rounded shoulders is to invest in an ergonomic setup.
Having an ergonomic chair that is designed to support your body will help keep your shoulders and neck in the correct posture while you are sitting for long periods of time. Look for chairs and desks that provide ample back support and keep your body properly aligned.
Adjustable chairs are great for finding the right height, as well as providing a comfortable seat for long periods of time. Just ensure that you are making the necessary adjustments to keep your body in good posture.
Don't carrying heavy bags on one shoulder
Are you always one to carry heavy bags on one shoulder?
Doing this can cause a shift in your posture and pull your shoulders forward, leading to rounded shoulders.
To prevent this from happening, switch up the sides you carry your bag on regularly, and try to keep the weight as light as possible. You can also look into investing in a comfortable backpack to distribute the weight evenly across both shoulders.
This way, you can make sure that your shoulders remain in the correct position.
Wear posture-corrective clothing
If you are looking for a simple solution to correct rounded shoulders, posture-corrective clothing may be the answer.
These specialized garments are designed to help maintain proper posture and pull your shoulders back in the process. Whether you opt for shirts with built-in adjustable straps or postural braces, these clothing items can make a huge difference when it comes to improving your posture.
Invest in bad posture-corrective clothing items that help you maintain good posture throughout the day, such as a back brace or posture corrector.
Take regular breaks from sitting in the same static position
As we spend more time sitting in the same static position, our posture can suffer.
To ensure that you remain in good posture, take regular breaks from sitting in the same static position. For instance, if you are sitting at your desk all day, make sure to get up and move around every hour or so. This will help alleviate any strain on your neck and shoulders.
It may also be beneficial to perform some simple stretching exercises throughout the day. This will help keep your muscles relaxed and keep your posture in check.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get about rounded shoulders. If you don't find the answer to your question here, please reach out to us and we'd be happy to help.
How long does it take to correct rounded shoulders?
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to fix rounded shoulders.
However, this depends on a wide range of factors that include the degree of existing muscle tension, how diligent you are in following an exercise program, and how often you practice good posture.
Just remember that it's important to be patient and consistent in order to achieve the best results. This way, you can make sure that your shoulders remain in the correct position.
Can rounded shoulders go away with time?
No, rounded shoulders cannot go away on their own. In fact, without proper treatment, rounded shoulders can become worse.
To reduce the risk of developing chronic shoulder problems, you need to make a conscious effort to practice good posture every day and perform exercises specifically designed for this area.
With the right habits and routines in place, you can start to see improvements in your posture within a few weeks.
How often can I use massage tools to correct rounded shoulders?
As we've already discussed, massage tools can be a great way to help correct rounded shoulders.
How long you use them depends on the type of massage tool you have chosen. While every massage tool outlined in this article is safe to use multiple times a day, it's best use them in moderation.
This way, you can ensure that your muscles don't become too tense or fatigued from excessive use.
Dealing with rounded shoulders can be frustrating and challenging, but with the right strategies and habits in place, you can make a lot of progress in correcting it.
Tell-tale signs of this condition include standing in a forward-leaning posture, experiencing neck and shoulder pain, having a limited range of motion, and even mental stress. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to take action as soon as possible.
Healthy ways to correct rounded shoulders include performing targeted posture exercises, consulting a physical therapist or chiropractor, and using massage tools or braces. By following these steps, you can start to improve your posture and enjoy the benefits of improved shoulder health.
But what’s most important is that you take steps to prevent this condition from manifesting after you have corrected it.
This includes regularly getting up and moving throughout the day, taking regular breaks from sitting in the same posture, investing in an ergonomic setup, maintaining a healthy weight and even sleeping properly.
By being consistent, you can make sure that your shoulders stay in the correct position and remain healthy for years to come.
If you have any further questions or concerns about rounded shoulders, please feel free to reach out to us. We'd be more than happy to help!