Rounded Shoulders & Its Impact on Posture

Rounded Shoulders & Its Impact on Posture

Rounded shoulders is caused when the resting shoulder position moves forward than the usual shoulder position.

It affects the ideal shoulder alignment and causes postural imbalance if not corrected or treated.

The shoulders look slumped in position, hence the term Rounded Shoulders. 

If someone is observed from the side view, it looks as if the shoulders have curved in the forward direction.

This kind of postire causes stress on the shoulder and neck muscles.

Causes of rounded shoulders:

  • “text neck” which is excessive use of mobile phone which causes forward neck posture.
  • Excessive use of keyboard/laptop.
  • Not using a proper ergonomic work station for working long hours on the laptop.
  • Sitting for long periods of time.
  • Lack of posture awareness.
  • Excessive driving.
  • Bending over repeatedly.
  • Carrying heavy objects excessively in certain occupations.
  • Lack of exercise routine.
  • Chronic tiredness or fatigue.
  • Sleep deprivation leading to upper back and neck muscle tension.
  • Untreated cervical pain or history of shoulder pain.

Other pathological causes of rounded shoulders:

  • Cervical spondylitis.
  • “Hump back” posture or thoracic kyphosis.
  • Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.
  • Rotator cuff shoulder injury.
  • Upper trapezius muscle inflammation or trapezitis.
  • Weakness of the upper back muscles.
  • Severe scoliosis.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Pectoral muscle tightness or injury.

How can Rounded Shoulders be prevented?

  • Posture assessment by a physiotherapist.
  • Posture correction and awareness after the problem is pinpointed.
  • Sitting on a chair and using the laptop/keyboard on table for prolonged hours of work.
  • Ergonomic modification of an existing work area.
  • Including an exercise regime to strengthen weak muscles in the routine.
  • Upper back muscles strengthening exercises.
  • Neck muscles strengthening exercises.
  • Daily stretches for tight upper body muscles that can cause rounded shoulders.
  • Aerobic activity like swimming to open up tight shoulder girdle muscles.
  • Scapular muscle retraction exercises.

Rounded shoulders caused due to pathological issues need attention by consulting an Orthopaedic doctor and a proper exercise prescription from a physiotherapist.

Dr. Janhvi Vayada – Clinical Sports Physiotherapist


Barbara Melton

Barbara Melton

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