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Why Posture Can Cause Shoulder Pain

For most of our lives we have been hearing, “Stand up straight! You’re slouching!” So naturally we take a deep breath in, squeeze our shoulders back and maybe up toward our ears, feel some nice relief and let out a long sigh. Then 30 seconds later we return to our slouched posture. So why are we comfortable with a slouched posture? If it doesn’t hurt, then why does that put us at risk for other musculoskeletal issues? 


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Many of us spend time sitting at work, school, or spend countless hours looking down at our various electronics. According to the CDC 25% of Americans sit for at least 8 hours a day and this number continues to grow. Without educating ourselves of the importance of proper posture then we are leading ourselves down a potential path to a multitude of musculoskeletal impairments, especially in the shoulder.

Diving into the anatomy of posture we begin at the head, neck, shoulder, and mid back region. Our head and neck should be in a slightly extended position or what is known as a lordosis. This will transition into our mid back or our thoracic spine which has a natural flexed position or what is known as a kyphosis. Our shoulders should be extended back with our shoulder blades slightly pinched and resting on our rib-cage.  With prolonged sitting or electronic use we tend to let gravity win which will then increase the thoracic kyphosis in our mid back, our head will begin to shift forward, and our shoulders will become rounded. Over time this can cause muscle imbalances which can be seen below: tight shoulder/neck/chest muscles, weakened muscles in the front of the neck and mid back region near the shoulder blades.

Selina Sabha - Owner and trainer of Fusion Fitness Pacific Grove
Selina Sahba

Fusion Fitness Owner, Fitness Writer, Trainer and Massage Therapist

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