Posture is important.
Being able to sit and stand with proper alignment helps you accomplish the hundreds of things you do every day. Good posture also puts less strain on your body's muscles and ligaments.
One common postural problem that many people have are uneven shoulders. In this guide, I am going to show you How to fix Uneven Shoulders. (With 9 Home based Exercises).
This is when one shoulder is higher than the other.
Uneven shoulders are sometimes caused by skeletal imbalances or structural issues in the body.
For example, if you injure your knee or hip, it can affect how you move your body. This can also cause alignment issues that can lead to having uneven shoulders.
Muscle imbalances are another common reason why people often experience uneven shoulders.
When one shoulder is raised higher than the other, the muscles on the elevated side of the body are usually tighter than normal.
There are two muscles that are primarily to blame for this:
1. Levator scapulae
It runs all the way from the back of your neck to the top of the shoulder blade. Its purpose is to lift the scapular muscle.
When this muscle becomes tight or stiff, it tends to pull at the shoulder being elevated.
This shoulder is usually raised higher than its normal position.
2. Upper trapezius
The upper trapezius muscle is connected from the back of the bottom of your skull.
It branches down and outward toward your shoulders.
Whenever you shrug or lift your shoulders, this is the muscle being used.
When this muscle is stiff or being used more than normal,
it will also cause the affected shoulder to elevate.
There are many reasons why these muscles become tight.
One of the most frequent causes is the way that we hold our bodies during our daily activities.
If we raise one shoulder higher than normal for extended periods of time, the muscle memory eventually adapts to keep the shoulder in that same elevated position.
Here are a few ways that you may be causing the problem without even knowing it:
- Sleeping primarily on one side at night can cause your shoulder on that side to elevate.
- Bending or nodding your head towards one side more than the other can cause the levator scapulae muscle to shorten.
- Lifting your shoulder up to one ear over the other side if you are talking on the phone, reading, cooking or performing other similar activities.
- Carrying a backpack or other heavy bag primarily on one shoulder can cause that shoulder to raise higher than normal as your body tries to compensate for the additional weight.
Identifying these problems can help to reduce or eliminate the problem quickly.
If you carry a heavy bag or lift heavy weights regularly, think about the effect that has on your body. It may be time to lighten your load or alternate shoulders regularly to put less stress and wear and tear on them.
If you sleep primarily on one side over the other, consider laying flat on your back or alternating sides when you can during the night.
You should also try to avoid any strenous activity such as lifting heavy weights or exercising vigorously right before you got to bed.
This can leave your muscles and joints feeling sorer than normal. It may require more time for your body to heal from these activities.
Uneven shoulders can be caused by postural imbalances from playing sports such as baseball, golf or tennis. The movements made during these activities are rather asymetrical in nature, which can lead to uneven shoulders. Other common causes include:
- Flat feet
- Lack of regular athletic activity
- Muscles that are weak or tight
- Pinched nerves
- Shoulder injuries
- Shoulder overuse or misuse
- Sleeping on only one side of the body at night
- Uneven hips
Common symptoms of uneven shoulders include pain in your lower back, neck or shoulders.
You may feel a sudden tightness or it may seem as if the muscles in question are being pulled.
Your head may not line up correctly with your pelvis and your shoulders may be rounded instead of straight. Bursitis, frequent headaches and tendonitis may also occur from time to time.
Some people experience uneven shoulders due to scoliosis.
This is a condition caused when the spine grows at a curve. This condition often happens during the growth spurt before a person reaches puberty. People with scoliosis may have a hip or shoulder blade that's higher than the other. They may also have an uneven waist.
Fortunately, there are several ways to treat uneven shoulders.
One of the most popular ways is by engaging in regular athletic activity. Martial arts, tai chi, swimming, rowing and yoga are just some of the many activities that have been proven to help fix this condition. These and other similar activities can help realign your body properly while providing you with a good workout.
You may also want to consult a professional to help correct the problem.
A chiropractor or physical therapist may be help to ease the tension and discomfort that you've been feeling. Another option is massage therapy.
If you are going down this route, make sure the therapist has experience in either Rolfing, which is a form of alternative medicine, or myofascial release.
Both of these are hands-on massage therapy techniques designed to apply pressure in order to relieve strained muscles and help improve blood flow.
There are also several exercises that you can do if you're concerned about having uneven shoulders. The best thing is that you can perform these activities whenever you have a little bit of free time.
All you need is a quiet space to work out, an exercise or resistance band and a couple of dumbbells.
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Here are a few basic activities that you can perform to Avoid Uneven Shoulder:
1. Ear to shoulder stretches.
For this activity, start in a standing position.
- Your neck and head should be aligned with each other in a straight line. Gently tilt your head toward one shoulder, keeping your shoulders steady.
- Use your hand to hold your other shoulder lightly.
- You can also pull your head toward your shoulder if that position's more comfortable for you.
- Whatever you decide, choose a position and hold it for at least half a minute.
- From there, you can return to your starting position and repeat the process on the other side of your body. Repeat this process a few times.
2. Overhead shoulder rotation
- You should have a couple of dumbbells handy for this activity.
- It doesn't matter what weight they are, as long as it's something you can lift comfortably.
- Pick up a dumbbell with one hand and lift your arm so it's at shoulder height.
- Your other arm should be down with your fingers pointed towards the floor. Bring your arm up so that it is facing the sky. Bring your arm back and repeat this excercise.
- You can alternate with the other arm if you want.
3. Raising your shoulders
- You can start this exercise by standing up straight.
- Keep your arms at your sides as you take a few moments to align your spine.
- Slowly bring your shoulders up towards your head. Hold this position and count to ten.
- You can then bring your shoulders down to where they were when you started. Repeat this cycle for a few minutes.
4. Reverse fly.
- Start again from by standing. This time, you'll want to put your arms behind your back and bring your hands together.
- Your fingers should be pointing towards the floor. Bring your shoulders back as you breathe in deeply. Exhale and turn your hands over so your fingers are pointing towards the sky.
- Keep your hands together as you press against them. Your elbows should be brought back while you're doing this. Keep this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Feel free to repeat this activity as many times as you'd like.
5. Reverse prayer.
- Start again from by standing. This time, you'll want to put your arms behind your back and bring your hands together.
- Your fingers should be pointing towards the floor.
- Bring your shoulders back as you breathe in deeply.
- Exhale and turn your hands over so your fingers are pointing towards the sky.
- Keep your hands together as you press against them.
- Your elbows should be brought back while you're doing this.
- Keep this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Feel free to repeat this activity as many times as you'd like.
6. Squeeze your shoulder blades.
- Stand up straight, and keep your arms next to your body.
- Start squeezing your shoulders up and down gradually.
- Bring them up for a few breaths and hold that position.
- Bring your shoulder blades up and down for a few repetitions.
- Take a few breaths and them bring your shoulders down to where they were when you started.
- Repeat this cycle a few more times, or as often as you're comfortable with.
7. Using resistance bands to stretch your arms.
For this exercise, you'll need a resistance band.
- Stand up straight, and keep your feet apart from you.
- Hold on to the resistance band in each hand and bring your arms out to your sides.
- Bring your arms together and squeeze the band tightly.
- You can then release this position, and carefully raise your arms up so that they touch your ears.
- Stretch the resistance band as far as you possibly can and then bring your arms back together in front of your head.
- Raise the resistance band up over your head and behind your neck, and hold this position for a few breaths.
- Repeat this cycle as many times as you'd like.
8. Using resistance bands to squeeze your shoulders.
This time, latch the resistance band into a hook, door or something else that's sturdy.
Make sure that the resistance band won't come loose.
Hold onto it with each hand and keep your hands up.
Your thumbs should be pointed towards the sky.
Bring your hands back, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do so. Turn your hands again, this time so that your fingers are facing toward the floor.
Pull your hands toward your hips while squeezing your shoulder blades. Repeat the process as many times as you're comfortable with.
In addition to these exercises, there are some very simple stretches that you can perform to release and relax the muscle fibers in your upper body. Here are a few examples that you can try:
1. Use a massage ball.
A small massage ball can help you massage the affected areas.
You may want to lean up against a wall and put the massage ball between you and your upper trapezius muscles (also referred to as "upper traps") or you can sit on the floor and put the massage ball on the problem area.
Take some time to gently work the ball up, down and around the muscles to help release the tension that has built up. It may take a few minutes, but you should start to feel better after a little while. We recommended
TriggerPoint Foam Massage Ball
2. Push on the affected area with a triggerpoint massage stick.
There are many different makes and models, but they all work about the same. Hold the stick firmly as you place the hook over your shoulder securely.
The knob should be on your upper trapezoid muscles. From there, you can move the knob around until you feel areas that are stiff or tight. Push down firmly on those areas for about 30-60 seconds or so.
It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you use it, the more familiar it will be to your body and the greater relief you'll feel.
3. Buy an electric shoulder and neck massager.
If the first two options don't work or don't appeal to you, you can always opt for an electric neck and shoulder massager. There also a lot of different varieties and brands that you can choose from.
Do a little research and select the product that best meets your needs. You should only need to use the massager for a few minutes a day until the pain dissipates.
The massage can be rather relaxing, and can also help you forget about the stress or anxiety that you may have experienced during your busy day. We recommend Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
You can buy products for all three of these methods at your local big box/specialty store or at your favorite online retailer. Most of them are under $100 and offer different functions and features depending on the make and model you purchase.
There are also several braces and other corrective devices that you canwear to help relieve the issue of uneven shoulders. Here are a few recommendations:
1. Posture Brace to Fix Uneven Shoulder.
This product manufactured by EFLY is an easy way to adjust your shoulders quickly.
Its ergonomic design helps you straighten your shoulders and improve your posture.
It also helps to reduce back pain and bad habits such as slouching. The posture brace is lightweight and can easily be put on over most clothes.
Before long, it won't even feel like you're wearing it! It is adjustable for most body sizes and weights and comes with a money-back lifetime guarantee.
You can order it directly from the company, at Amazon.com or at other online or specialty retailers. A great way to straighten your shoulders for cheap.
2. Posture Corrector Upper Back Straightener & Shoulder Support Brace
Brace Ability is an industry leader, and their newest model has earned rave reviews.
This product offers comfortable padding, rectangle D-rings that prevent straps from twisting and comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Most models retail for $30 and under.
They are light enough to slip under your clothes and take with you wherever you go.
They are also very easy to adjust and come in a variety of attractive colors.
Uneven shoulders can be uncomfortable, but they can be treated over time. Failure to do so can lead to more serious problems.
It can cause poor shoulder mechanics and even shoulder injuries over time. The longer you wait, the worse things can get.
Taking action to eliminate having uneven shoulders can work wonders for your self-confidence.
When you feel better on the outside, you usually feel better on the inside, too.
It may take a while to see results, so don't get discouraged. Good things take time. Keep active, and measure your progress regularly. Before long, you'll start to see things start to change.
Uneven shoulders can be concerning, but thankfully they're usually only temporary. Once you've pinpointed the cause, you can work to reverse the situation.
All it takes is a little determination and perseverance.
Those unsightly uneven shoulders will soon be nothing more than a bad memory. Using corrective products and/or exercise and stretches will soon make the problem disappear.
You'll be back on your way to living a happier, healthier and more productive life.