Can Bad Posture Cause Shoulder Pain?

Posture Tips


Can Shoulder Pain Be From Bad Posture?

Sometimes, it can surprise us how the smallest things in life can actually affect our health. Small things like wearing that heavy bag on the same shoulder every day, or that terrible posture that began at work, but so desperately want to get rid of. That’s right… it all adds up.

Today I’ll be going over the importance of exercising in the workplace and how it can help your shoulder pain. The reason why I am writing about the workplace is that not many people realize how much time they actually spend at work.

Imagine if you have an office job, or if you DO, think of all those hours you spend sitting down, not moving, and potentially developing poor posture. It’s no wonder you have shoulder pain!

And here’s why. When we slouch in our chair, our shoulders roll forward and down. This closes down space where vital tendons and other tissues exist. Now just the closing down of that space is not the only bad thing but it’s when we are slouched AND then reach out in front, like to answer the phone, type on a keyboard (I’m adjusting my posture right now), turn the steering wheel in the car, or change the radio station. The combination of the two repeated over time can cause “wear and tear” in the shoulder causing you to wake up one day with a sore shoulder thinking, “why is my shoulder hurting? I didn’t do anything different yesterday.”

That is why it’s important to exercise at work and to keep moving as much as possible.

With that in mind, here are a few tips that are handy to use to ease that shoulder pain:

Yoga before and after work is a MUST to stretch away those potential aches and pains that reside in your muscles. It’s ideal to do yoga in the morning as you have been sleeping in the same position for a while and will continue to do so at work. Even for a 5-10 minutes

After work is just as important. Doing yoga after work will stretch your muscles after sitting for so long! Not only this but it will leave you feeling a lot calmer and stress-free. If you decide to do yoga before bed, then this is just as good for you because it will help you fall asleep quicker.

Get some fresh air on your lunch break. This is something I tell my staff to do all the time! Not only is a change of scenery healthy for the mind, but it also gets you up and moving. Even if it’s just a walk to a park bench, it’s better than nothing!

If you’re lucky enough to have an hour for your lunch break, then why not try to go for a brisk walk? This will ease your muscles further from any pain.

If you do decide to do this, then I would recommend leaving your bag in the office (but bring along a water bottle in this AZ heat). The reason for this is that if you carry your bag over your shoulder, you’ll be placing more pressure on one of your shoulders, which will leave you with more shoulder pain to go back to your desk with!

Don’t forget to move around at least once within an hour. I’m not saying you need to sprint to one end of the office and back! It could be as simple as walking to the bathroom or even standing up and walking to your coworker’s desk to see how they’re doing.

It doesn’t even have to be for very long, just as long as you’ve stood up and had a few steps!

watch this video to learn how your posture can impact your health.

If your shoulder pain still hasn’t eased during lunch, but the yoga in the morning worked…

then here are a few exercises that you can try from your desk for better posture:

Desk Angels:

Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Right, so here’s how you do them…

  • 1. Sit straight in your chair, raise your arms straight up like you’re trying to touch the ceiling.
  • 2. Keep your body still, (it’ll be harder than you anticipate) and pull your arms down like you’re putting on a shirt, while keeping your elbows back (you’ll notice the stretch).
  • 3. Repeat ten times.

Shoulder Rolls:

This one is probably the most common out of the exercises.

  • 1. Keep your back straight and chin tucked in.
  • 2. Roll your shoulders forward 10 times and then repeat backwards.

Armpit Stretch

This one is probably the most difficult, in the sense that it’s difficult to feel/ notice the stretch. When you do feel it, you’ll know! This exercise targets the muscle near the shoulder blade.

I also advise that it might be best to do this one when you’re on your own in the office, as you might look like you’re sniffing your armpit! Here it is…

  • 1. Sit with your back straight and rotate your head to the right side so that your nose is directly above your armpit.
  • 2. Hold your head with your right hand and gently use it to push your nose closer to your armpit.
  • 3. Hold for ten seconds and repeat twice on each side.

So, quick summary! Now that you realize how long you actually spend at work and potentially in an office chair, it’s clear to see the importance of exercise in the workplace.

Shoulder pain can often come from poor posture in the workplace. So remember, the hours you work to build up and so does the pressure and pain in your shoulders.

If you have or are about to retire, then these exercises can still be done at home and I would still recommend using these tips to ease any shoulder pain that you may still have.

So give these tips a try and start to feel the benefits quicker!

Click Here To Download Your Free Shoulder Pain Guide
Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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