Everyone has heard how important good posture is. Growing up, you’ve probably been told to “Sit up straight!” and warned that you’ll develop a hunch if you don’t. Yet in spite of all the evidence showing us how and why good posture is important, it’s easy to hunch and slouch, either from wanting to make yourself seem smaller or from sitting down all day.
While your neck and your back are the most common parts of your body linked to your posture, your shoulders play a vital role too. If poor posture is left uncorrected long enough, you may end up with shoulder pain. If you’ve tried to fix your posture and your shoulders hurt, this can be for a number of reasons ranging from the impact of long-term poor posture and improper attempts at correcting your posture.
How Poor Posture Causes Shoulder Pain
People often overlook the impact your posture can have on your shoulders. Hunching and slouching causes your upper back to bend forward, which affects your shoulders. This can change the position and how your shoulders move over time, leading to shoulder pain.
Loss Of Strength
Poor posture affects your muscles, leading to muscular imbalances which can result in muscle pain. This is because when you slouch, some of your muscles tighten while others loosen. This muscular imbalance makes it so that your shoulder muscles can’t produce the same amount of force as they would be able to if they were balanced. This weakens your shoulders, as well as stretching the muscles in your back while loosening the ones in your chest. Since your muscles become imbalanced, they lose strength they’d otherwise have if you maintained proper posture.
Lessened Range Of Motion
Slouching doesn’t just affect the strength of your muscles, it also limits your range of motion. You can notice this immediately, not just over an extended period of time. If you have poor posture and attempt to do something even as simple as circling your arm, it may be stiff or hurt. If you then try to do the same thing with corrected posture, you’ll likely notice that it instantly becomes a bit easier or less painful.
Improper Movement Leading To Injury
Your shoulders aren’t meant to be hunched forward. Prolonged poor posture can misalign the positioning of your shoulder blades, which can lead to injury at your rotator cuff when you try to move your arms. Since poor posture limits your range of motion, it also heightens your risk for wear and tear injuries, tendinosis, and tendonitis.
Why Pulling Your Shoulders Back Won’t Help
One of the most common responses when people talk about posture is for others to automatically pull their shoulders back in an attempt to improve their own. Merely pulling your shoulders back won’t fix the hunching of your upper body and neck, though. This is because your shoulders sit over your rib cage.
This means that in order to fix your posture, sitting up straight means that your breast bone and your pubic bone shoulder are aligned on top of each other. Puffing out your chest and pulling your shoulders back won’t put your spine in alignment or fix the position of your rib cage, and ergo, your shoulders.
How To Fix Your Posture
Fixing your posture won’t happen immediately. In many cases, especially if poor posture has gotten to the point where your shoulders hurt, correcting your posture will feel wrong. This is because your body has grown accustomed to hunching, so working to change that is changing what your body has grown used to, which it will naturally resist. In order to prevent injury and to correct your posture, it will take time and effort, but it can be done.
To fix your posture, it’s going to take conscious effort all day long. Good posture is simply a part of your day to day life. Strengthening your back and core muscles will make it easier to maintain good posture. Sitting up from your hips instead of pulling your shoulders back will help keep your rib cage properly aligned. Pinching your shoulder blades lightly together and rolling them up and back can help too.
Changing your posture requires awareness of how your body is positioned always, and making those constant adjustments until it becomes something your body does automatically.
How Chiropractors Can Help
If you’re struggling with fixing your posture, especially if it’s because of shoulder pain, chiropractors can help. Chiropractors can observe how you sit and walk and test your strength and range of motion in order to determine how best to help. Poor posture can put a lot of pressure on your spinal discs, so they may also take a look at your back.
Chiropractors can help by adjusting your spine in order to increase movement and reduce tension, so that it will be easier to adjust to better posture. They can also work with your muscles to help strengthen them, so that they can hold good posture, and so that it is more comfortable when you work to sit or stand properly. They can also guide you through stretches and rehabilitating exercises which will reduce tension and strengthen your muscles.
Fixing bad posture on your own can be difficult, because it’s not as simple as “just sit up straight!” There can be underlying issues resulting from poor posture. Chiropractors can help guide you back to good posture, so that you can go about your life without pain or injury.
Do You Need Help Fixing Your Posture?
Elevate Wellness knows how important your posture is for your health, and also how difficult it can be to fix your posture by yourself. We can help you regain good posture, and help treat any pain resulting from bad posture. Contact us at Elevate Wellness today to schedule a consultation.