Shoulder Health Starts with Posture: Improving Shoulder Pain through Proper Alignment

Shoulder Health Starts with Posture: Improving Shoulder Pain through Proper Alignment

Shoulder Pain treatment in Garden City, New York

How often did your parents tell you to watch your posture or stand up straight? As a kid, you might have thought it was to help you look your best, but proper spinal alignment plays a significant role in keeping our lives pain-free. In fact, when it comes to improving shoulder pain, posture is more important than you might realize.

Consider Molly’s story. She noticed one day that she was having trouble grabbing cups off the top shelf of her cupboard–and not because they were too high, either. Instead, it was because her shoulder hurt too much for her to reach overhead. She also struggled to reach behind her back or brush her hair.

Concerned, Molly visited her local physical therapist, who told her she had suffered a repetitive-stress injury in her rotator cuff. These injuries are common among people who frequently reach overhead (such as house painters) or play sports. But Molly was an accountant who mostly did work on the computer, and she wasn’t much of an athlete, either.

But then her therapist gave a surprising suggestion: perhaps her strained rotator cuff muscles had their root in a muscular imbalance brought on by Molly’s sedentary job. Prolonged sitting had weakened the muscles in her upper back, causing her rotator cuff to overcompensate and work harder than it should–leading to her injury.

Our bodies are connected in ways we might never think about. The Omni Physical Therapy & Wellness physical therapists can help you see those connections more clearly and provide the solutions that will help you address them so you can manage your pain effectively.

Keep reading to learn more about improving shoulder pain with posture corrections. Or call our Garden City, NY clinic to set up an initial consultation!

The Connection Between Posture and Shoulder Pain

To understand the connection between improving shoulder pain and posture, it helps to understand basic shoulder anatomy.

The clavicle (collarbone) and scapula (shoulder blade) come together with the humerus (upper arm bone) to form a complex ball-and-socket joint that allows your arm its fantastic range of motion. That joint is supported and stabilized by the rotator cuff, a group of four muscles and the tendons that connect the muscles to your bones.

Often, shoulder pain has its roots in issues with the rotator cuff, and issues with the rotator cuff often develop due to weakness in the muscles of your neck, upper back, and shoulder blade. When those muscles are weak, your rotator cuff muscles pick up the slack, which overstresses them and makes you susceptible to injuries like a rotator cuff tear or shoulder impingement–leading to pain.

But what causes those back and neck muscles to become weak in the first place? If you guessed poor posture, you’d be correct! Specifically, prolonged sitting and working at a desk are a couple of the main culprits, as Molly found out.

When we sit at a computer and look at a mobile phone, we often hunch forward, rounding the spine of our upper back–a posture that puts stress on our shoulders. Furthermore, setting up your computer station with the mouse too far away from the keyboard adds additional stress to your shoulder.

Improving Shoulder Pain with Simple Posture Corrections

The musculoskeletal experts at Omni Physical Therapy & Wellness will help you correct your posture to minimize stress on your rotator cuff muscles.

Regardless of what your parents might have told you, improving posture isn’t as simple as just “standing up straight.” Instead, it’s about keeping your spine and head aligned as you move about your day, whether you’re going for a jog or sitting down to watch TV.

Our physical therapists will help you understand what your ideal posture looks and feels like (it’s different for everyone). We’ll also suggest strategies for maintaining the best alignment depending on what you’re doing. The key here is actually postural awareness when you perform various activities–not trying to hold a stiff, straight, unmoving posture.

We can also help you with ergonomic strategies to ensure your workstation is conducive to maintaining good postural alignment for effectiveness and efficiency, so you can avoid unnecessary strain on your shoulder/body. We’ll show you what level to position your computer monitor, the best location for your mouse, and the ideal height of your desk (hint: It’s probably lower than you think!).

Finally, we can provide you with a customized exercise program to help strengthen your upper back and neck muscles so they aren’t putting undue strain on your rotator cuff–and your different body parts can work together as they should.

But We Can Help Resolve Existing Shoulder Injuries, Too

While maintaining proper posture can help prevent shoulder injuries, it may not be enough to completely resolve an existing one, such as a rotator cuff tear, rotator cuff tendonitis, or a shoulder impingement. Fortunately, therapists will also work with you to address existing discomfort.

The good news is that you can resolve most shoulder injuries with regular physical therapy! Our therapists will start by providing a pain management program. We’ll use different manual therapy techniques (such as a shoulder joint mobilization or a soft-tissue manipulation of the muscles in your rotator cuff) to reduce pain and help improve your shoulder’s mobility.

Next, we’ll show you simple exercises to help resolve the underlying injury. We’ll work on improving your shoulder’s range of motion first, then move on to strengthening the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint so they can provide plenty of support and stabilization.

Improving Shoulder Pain: Posture Corrections and More!

Shoulder pain can have a big impact on your day-to-day life. Don’t just ignore it and hope it’ll go away–take action! The Omni Physical Therapy & Wellness physical therapists will show you how.

If you live in Garden City, NY and want to start addressing persistent shoulder pain, contact us to schedule an appointment today!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *