Postural problems; should I be forcing my shoulders back or not?
December 6, 2013 3:00 PM Subscribe
I was recently diagnosed with shoulder instability/thoracic outlet syndrome/shoulder impingement syndrome stemming from a lifetime of computer with forward head and rounded shoulders posture. I have been working on exercises to help strengthen my back muscles, and have also been stretching my neck and chest. One problem I cannot get a straight answer on, However, is knowing whether to keep my shoulders pulled back in everyday life or not. Can anyone share with me evidence of the benefits of squared shoulders, or anecdotes of their experiences with keeping their shoulders held back on a daily basis?
posted by Thanquol180 to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
My impingement is improving but not totally healed yet. My upper back muscles have become stronger through my physical therapy, and I have been using them to help keep my shoulders back (through my rhomboids, I believe) as I go about my day, even when sitting. I am not sure if I am forcing them to go back too far, and I get wildly varying opinions on this topic.
Sometimes pushing the shoulders back feels very good and natural, But sometimes my upper back and shoulders get tense as a result. It seems that no one I ask can give me a straight answer when it comes to correcting posture, except that my chest should be up. I have received wildly differing opinions from doctor to doctor. One tells me that my shoulders should remain relaxed and overdoing my posture is not a good idea. One other I have been seeing believes that the only way to correct postural imbalances is to keep the shoulders held back until they attain muscle memory and stay back on their own. Hearing conflicting advice confuses me to say the least.
Does anyone have any personal experience with postural problems, and has holding the shoulders back helped at all? Is holding them back all day the ideal and will become natural with time? Or is this overdoing it, with relaxation being preferable? Then again, I was relaxed with my rounded shoulders and that's when this problem started in the first place... please share with me your stories, mefites!