Do you often feel a tightness in your neck or upper back, or tingling in your arms or hands or catch yourself slouching more often than not? Are these problems worsened by endless time on your computer or phone – head craned forward or down as you type or scan?  In fact any activity that causes the body to look down and forward for long periods of time can contribute to slumped and slouching shoulders. As a result you might be suffering from the common, yet typically overlooked, condition of rounded shoulders. This blog is perfect for desk workers, or anyone aiming to understand and remedy this issue which can affect their overall wellbeing.

The Hidden Impact

Rounded shoulders, a forward shoulder posture often seen in habitual slouchers and desk-bound individuals, can have a more significant impact on your wellbeing than you might realise. As your neck bends forward  not only does it impact your physical appearance, but it also influences your posture, which governs the efficiency of your body’s movements and the health of your musculoskeletal system.

As your neck bends forwards and your shoulder blades wing out and your shoulder slump – other problems arise. Your elbows bend, your wrists twist forward and your thumbs flex. Extra pressure is put on your spine and trunk muscles that can trigger muscle , joint pain and headaches. Even your ability to breathe can be reduced.

Daily tasks that may contribute to rounded shoulders include:

  • using a smartphone or tablet
  • using a computer or laptop
  • sitting for long periods
  • driving a vehicle
  • bending over repeatedly
  • carrying heavy objects all day

Root Causes

Desk jobs featuring prolonged sitting, poor ergonomic setups, and bad posture habits contribute to the development of rounded shoulders. It’s often a manifestation of muscle imbalances, where certain muscles in the chest and front shoulders become tight, while those in the upper back become weak or overstretched.

Erect posture is one of the things that is lost with age, but there are a number of things that can be done to delay or minimize the changes in posture as our bones, joints and muscles are altered by age.  Better posture is often just a matter of changing your activities and strengthening your muscles.

The Domino Effect on Health

The profound effects of rounded shoulders extend beyond just the musculoskeletal system. This posture can lead to chronic neck and back pain, increase the risk of developing conditions like arthritis, and even reduce lung capacity and overall circulation. Slumping forward can reduce lung capacity by up to 30%.

With the average adult head weighing around 5kg, the gravitational pull on your skull as you bend your neck forward is substantial. Bending your neck at 60% puts about 27kg of pressure on your neck which is equivalent to an 8 year old child!

Straighten Up: Exercises for Improvement

Thankfully, there are numerous exercises and stretches you can do to help correct your posture. These include shoulder blade squeezes, chest stretches, and back strengthening exercises along with strengthening and stabilising your core. Practising activities like wall angels/wall slides, where you stand with your back to a wall and make ‘snow angels’, can strengthen the muscles necessary to maintain proper alignment. Ask our chiropractors in Kingscliff what is appropriate for you and they will individually tailor an exercise and strengthening program.

Postural Prowess at The Desk

Practising good posture at your desk involves a combination of ergonomics, regular breaks for stretching, and even using tools like setting an alarm or posture reminder/correction devices to keep you in check. You should aim to move and get up every 20 minutes to break habits. Ensuring that your desk, chair, and computer height are all properly adjusted to create a comfortable working environment that supports a neutral spine is crucial. For more information on ergonomic set up click here. Get someone to take a photo of you at your work station so you can see if anything needs to be adjusted.

Seeking Professional Assistance

If your experiencing pain, soreness or tightness or just want advice, please get in contact with us to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors in Chinderah. A chiropractor can create a tailored program to correct muscle imbalances, and help with skeletal alignment. You may also benefit from an ergonomic assessment to customise your work setup!

Conclusion: Take Charge

Don’t wait until pain or more severe complications arise to take action against rounded shoulders. By incorporating these tips and exercises, you can proactively improve your posture and take charge of your overall wellbeing. Remember, it’s the small, consistent efforts that lead to long-term wellbeing. If you need more tips about posture, musculoskeletal health and how a chiropractor can help alleviate discomfort, get in touch with Tweed Coast Chiropractic.