Slouching is the main cause of round shoulders. When you slouch for a prolonged period of time, you run the risk of straining the muscles between your shoulder blades. This could result in upper back pain. When you slouch, the neck's natural forward curve tends to become exaggerated. This could lead to neck pain. Therefore, when sitting, try not to slouch.

Rounded shoulders tend to compress your diaphragm. This leads to shallow breathing. When you have proper posture, you will not have to worry about improper breathing. A good posture ensures sufficient oxygen intake. A good supply of oxygen will help relax and soothe the muscles, preventing stress build-up especially around the muscles. Tense muscles can cause back and neck pain.

What Causes Rounded Shoulders?

What Causes Rounded Shoulders?

Rounded shoulders can be best termed as a postural abnormality. There are a host of factors which contribute to the development of rounded shoulders. In most cases they develop due to overstretching of muscles of upper back and neck for a prolonged period of time.

Slouching for a prolonged period of time, especially if it has formed into a habit, is the main cause for rounded shoulders. When your shoulders slouch, the joint rotates inwards while your head is pushed forward. This apart, the chest's front muscles also become tight. All joint and muscle movements contribute to the development of rounded shoulders after a prolonged period of time.

This shoulder 'abnormality' usually develops when you are in the adolescent stage or during the early adulthood years. Both men and women are susceptible to this postural defect.

Some of the Common Causes of Rounded Shoulders are:

  • When you sit for long hours leaning in front of a computer or laptop with hands placed on the desk can result in developing rounded shoulder over a period of time.
  • Lying in a bed in a curled up condition can lead to a shoulder abnormality as well as cause rounded shoulders.
  • When you work out to build chest muscles as well as biceps, you run the risk of forming rounded shoulders.
  • If you have suffered shoulder injuries in the past, it can lead to abnormalities later on
  • Vehicle drivers are prone to develop round shoulders as they have to slough if their car seats are not comfortable or poorly designed.
  • Breast-feeding mothers are also prone to rounded shoulders.
  • Cyclists who are forced to bed over for a prolonged period of time may develop rounded shoulders over a period of time in future.
  • Breast growth in teenage girls is an awkward phase. Therefore, girls tend to develop an awkward posture. Some girls will adopt awkward postures in an attempt to fight it. When a girl fails to get out of the phase, rounded shoulders develop.

How to Get Rid of Rounded Shoulders?

Exercises For Rounded Shoulder:

Doorway Chest and Shoulder Stretch to Get Rid of Rounded Shoulder

This is an effective stretch to improve your posture and release tension from the upper back as well as to get rid of your rounded shoulder. Just find a doorway either in your home or office. Bring your hands to either side of the door, place your palm just a bit above the shoulder level and step up towards the door.

Doorway Chest and Shoulder Stretch to Get Rid of Rounded Shoulder

Next, don't move your feet, press into your hands a bit and draw your chest forward. Keep your back straight while you lean forward. You will feel a nice stretch on your chest, pectoral area, and around the shoulder blades in your back.

Hands above the Head Doorway Chest and Shoulder Stretch for Rounded Shoulder

This exercise is similar to the one explained above with the only change being the placement of the hand. To do this exercise, you have to place your hand above your head on the top frame.

Hands above the Head Doorway Chest and Shoulder Stretch for Rounded Shoulder

Next, don't move your feet, press into your hands a bit and draw your chest forward. Keep your back straight while you lean forward. You will feel a nice upward stretch on your chest, pectoral area, and around the shoulder blades in your back.

Wall Press Exercise for Rounded Shoulders

Stand at an arms length away from the wall. With the whole body kept straight, place your palm on the wall at chest height and shoulder width. Slowly try to lean forward as if trying to touch the wall with the nose. You need to ensure that your waist is not bent when doing this exercise. Do this exercise for at least 10 times thrice a day. This exercise provides a gentle stretch to your chest and shoulders.

Wall Press Exercise for Rounded Shoulders

Upper Back Foam Roller Exercise for Rounded Shoulder

Lie with your back on foam roller below your shoulder blades. Now slowly lift your hips up such that the entire body weight is rested on the foam roller and your feet. Now slowly start rolling forward and backward. This is an effective exercise to get rid of rounded shoulder.

Upper Back Foam Roller Exercise for Rounded Shoulder

Internal Shoulder and Hip Rotation Exercises for Rounded Shoulder

Lie on your back and rest your arms in a T position. Bend your knees and feet wider than the hips. Take a deep breath when you close your eyes. Relax your shoulders with each breath.

When you exhale, lower your knees to the right, ensuring that you're left shoulder move away from the ground. Keep arms straight and rotate your left arm inward. Lift your left shoulder off the ground till your palm open to the floor.

When you inhale, slowly release the contraction that you had built up in your chest. Lower the left shoulder to the ground. Lift your knees to the center and take a breath in.

Dolphin Pose Exercise for Rounded Shoulders

Use your shoulders to balance the hands and knees with your shoulders above your wrists and hips above your knees. Lower yourself to your forearms, keeping them parallel such that you upper body weight falls on your forearms. Spread your fingers.

Dolphin Pose Exercise for Rounded Shoulders

Follow this up by placing your palms and forearms into the mat, curling your toes under lifting your back and hips. Look back at your feet, while ensuring your head and neck enjoys the leeway to relax. Keep rooting down on your forearm as you slowly lift your hip and shoulders from the ground. It might help if you take deep breaths at this stage. You can then proceed to lengthening your spine from the tailbone right through the head's crown.

Yoga Asanas for Rounded Shoulders

Shoulder Stretches For Rounded Shoulders

Shoulder stretches with the help of a yoga strap or bathrobe belt is a good way to correct rounded shoulders. Sit in a comfortable position. Straighten your arms at a 45-degree angle with the yoga strap in tow. Keep your hands at a distance.

As you inhale, lift the yoga strap above your head. When you exhale, lower the strap by bending your elbows. Your shoulder blades should be brought down your back and towards your spine. This is similar to a lat pulldown.

Eagle Arms for Rounded Shoulders

For this yoga exercise, you will be required to straighten your arms to the ceiling. Cross the right arm over the left, like giving yourself a hug. When you inhale, you will be required to breathe in the space between the blades of your shoulder. When you exhale, release the contraction in your pecs slowly, before lowering both arms to form a T. Do the 'hug motion' again and then release with your left arm on top.

Extend your arms to the ceiling before crossing the right arm over the left to form an X shape. As you keep your elbows together, rotate forearms to ensure your palms face each other. Your arms should twist like vines. Continue to lift up and out through your fingertips. Move shoulders away from the ears and take a breath into the back body. Bring your arms back to parallel. Cross the left arms over the right and then wrap the left arm again on top.

Side Plank (Vasisthasana) for Rounded Shoulders

Get down to your hands and knees with shoulders above the wrists and hips above the knees. Place the left hand on the mat before your face. Your left knee and shin should be in the same vertical line as your hand. However, ensure that the left knee is directly below your left hip.

Try and stretch your right leg back before placing the inner part of the right foot firmly on the ground. Use your core and squeeze the left side of the waist as your pelvis and torso opens to face the right side of the mat. Your right hand should be near the hip while keeping the right leg active and strong.

Press down into the left hand and stretch the right arm to the ceiling from the centre of the chest. You will be required to keep reaching through the crown of the head and right foot to ensure the spine's length.

Tips to Correct Rounded Shoulders

It may not surprise you, but, rounded shoulders are usually caused by man-made abnormalities in most cases. In order to rectify and resolve the abnormality as soon as possible, early detection is imperative. However, there could be long standing cases that may require more than just correcting postural habits. It may require you to undertake a few home exercises to achieve the desired results. The good news is that you do not have to worry about paying a subscription fee to avail of these remedies.

Here are some simple tips that you can choose to do in the comfort of your home to treat rounded shoulders:

  • Try and avoid sitting in a hunched posture in front of the computer for prolonged periods of time. If you have a desk job, it would serve you well to do light and easy shoulder stretches. This will help relax the back muscles and prevent getting rounded shoulders.
  • When you finally consent to do these home exercises to cure rounded shoulders, try not to only focus on one set of muscle strengthening. When exercising, do not only focus on building bicep and chest muscles as it tends to weaken the upper back muscles.
  • Apart from working on your shoulders, also focus on strengthening back muscles. This should be your focus if you want to increase your pectoral muscles and biceps.
  • Teenage girls suffering from rounded shoulders should avoid hunching forward for prolonged periods of time. Try sitting up straight or taking walks frequently if you are at the desk studying. A few stretches at regular intervals will ensure a straighter back and shoulders.
  • Shoulder exercises like scapular slides of wall will go a long way in correcting the rounded shoulder abnormality.

There are quite a few workplaces in the world which give their employees the option to work at stand-up workstations. However, while that arrangement may have its disadvantages, choosing to take preventive measures will ensure you do not suffer from rounded shoulders.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: August 5, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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