With Gary Backlund Chiropractor M. Tech: Chiro (RSA)

Stand in front of the mirror and allow your arms to naturally drop to your sides. If your knuckles are facing forward this could indicate that you have rounded shoulders.  

The term “rounded shoulders” is used to describe a resting shoulder position that has moved forward from the body’s ideal alignment. Rounded shoulders and rounding upper back form part of overall bad posture and is something we frequently see at the clinic, mainly because the majority of our patients are in sedentary jobs. The problem is that it can get worse if left untreated, and this may harm a person’s overall health and appearance. 

What are the causes? 

Any activity that causes the body to look down and forward for long periods of time can contribute to slumped shoulders. These positions disrupt how the muscles in the neck, back, and shoulders normally function and cause the upper back joints to “lock”. It is these muscles and joints that control the way the body maintains its posture throughout the day. 

• Using a smartphone or tablet 

• Using a computer or laptop  

• Sitting for long periods 

 • Driving a vehicle 

 • Bending over repeatedly 

 • Carrying heavy objects for prolonged periods. 

 By inadvertently training the body to be hunched forward, over time the muscles and joints interpret this slumped position as the body’s ‘norm’. Left untreated, this can be very harmful. It may cause increased stress on the shoulder joints can cause pain around the neck and upper back. It is best to correct rounded shoulders by adjusting the posture as soon as possible

Once you have corrected your posture, then we suggest you help maintain this by doing a combination of stretches and exercises and getting your chiropractor to regularly help maintain everything in alignment and help keep the joints free to move.  

Three Yoga Poses for Rounded Shoulders

Childs Pose

A picture of a couple practicing childs pose

Childs pose opens your shoulders, lengthens your spine and stretches the spaces in between the ribcage. To get into this pose, start from a kneeling position, slide the big toes together and part your thighs. Sit your buttocks on your heels, bring your torso to the legs and nestle the stomach between your thighs. Rest your forehead on the earth and extend your arms forward,

Cat / Cow

Alternate between Cat and Cow pose to warm up your spine and stretch your shoulders. It will ease the tension in your trapezius and stretch your rhomboids. Get on all fours, place your wrists beneath your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Leading the movement from your tailbone, inhale slowly drop your belly and chest towards the earth, taking your gaze to the sky, pressing down through your palms. On an exhalation, reverse the movement from the tailbone, curl the spine under and gaze towards the navel.

Knees to Chest Pose

Knees to chest pose will increase the space in the lower back to relieve tension. It strengthens your biceps, triceps and deltoids. Lie down facing the ceiling, bring your knees to your chest, hug your arms around your shins and ground your lower back. Take a deep breath and drop your shoulders away from your ears. As your exhale, use your arms to squeeze your thighs into your chest and tuck your chin to lengthen your neck.

Gary Backlund is a member of The Scottish Chiropractic Association and The General Chiropractic Council. He has 20 years of experience and is registered as a health-care provider for most insurance companies including BUPA, AXA PPP, Cigna, Prudential, Aviva and Simply Health.