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  • Jo Everill-Taylor

The Problems of Rounded Shoulders: Understanding and Addressing a Common Postural Issue

In our modern world, where hours are often spent hunched over computers, staring at smartphones, and sitting in less-than-ideal positions, postural issues have become increasingly prevalent.

One of the most common postural problems is rounded shoulders, a condition that can lead to a host of physical discomforts and health concerns.

In this blog, we will explore what rounded shoulders are, the problems associated with this posture, and how to address and prevent it.


What Are Rounded Shoulders?


Rounded shoulders are a postural condition where the shoulders are positioned forward of the body's midline. This condition is often the result of prolonged periods of poor posture, such as slouching while sitting or standing.

Over time, the muscles in the chest become tight, while the muscles in the upper back become weak, pulling the shoulders forward and creating a hunched appearance.


The Problems Associated with Rounded Shoulders


1. Neck and Shoulder Pain

One of the most immediate and noticeable effects of rounded shoulders is pain in the neck and shoulder region. The forward position of the shoulders strains the muscles and ligaments in these areas, leading to chronic pain and discomfort.


2. Poor Breathing

Rounded shoulders can restrict the movement of the rib cage, making it more difficult to take deep breaths. This restriction can lead to shallow breathing, which reduces the amount of oxygen that the body receives and can affect overall energy levels and health.


3. Reduced Mobility

The altered position of the shoulders can limit the range of motion in the shoulder joints. This restriction can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as reaching overhead, lifting objects, or even putting on clothes.


4. Impaired Athletic Performance

For athletes, rounded shoulders can significantly impact performance. Proper shoulder alignment is crucial for the efficient execution of many athletic movements, and misalignment can lead to decreased strength, endurance, and an increased risk of injury.


5. Headaches

The strain on the neck muscles from rounded shoulders can also lead to tension headaches. These headaches often stem from the tightness and imbalance in the muscles supporting the head and neck.


6. Digestive Issues

 Poor posture, including rounded shoulders, can compress the organs in the abdomen, potentially leading to digestive issues such as acid reflux and decreased bowel function.


So what can we do?

Addressing and Preventing Rounded Shoulders.....


1. Postural Awareness

   - The first step in addressing rounded shoulders is becoming aware of your posture throughout the day. Regularly check your posture while sitting, standing, and walking, and make a conscious effort to keep your shoulders back and your spine aligned.


2. Strengthening Exercises

   - Incorporate exercises that strengthen the upper back muscles, such as rows, reverse flys, and scapular retractions. These exercises help counteract the forward pull of the chest muscles and support proper shoulder alignment. We often do these in Pilates class using resistance bands, or using gravity whilst lying on our fronts.


3. Stretching

   - Stretch the chest muscles regularly to alleviate tightness. Simple stretches like doorway stretches, chest openers, and shoulder rolls can help maintain flexibility and reduce the pull on the shoulders.


4. Ergonomic Adjustments

   - Make ergonomic adjustments to your workspace to promote better posture. Ensure that your computer screen is at eye level, your chair supports your lower back, and your feet are flat on the floor.


5. Rememeber to do your Pilates!

   - Pilates is excellent for improving posture. In Pilates we emphasise core strength, flexibility, and body awareness, all of which can help correct and prevent rounded shoulders.


6. Professional Help

   - If rounded shoulders are causing significant pain or functional limitations, consider seeking help from a physical therapist or chiropractor. These professionals can provide personalised assessments and treatment plans to address your specific needs.



Rounded shoulders are a common postural issue that can lead to various physical problems, from pain and reduced mobility to impaired breathing and athletic performance.

By becoming aware of your posture, incorporating targeted exercises and stretches, and making ergonomic adjustments, you can address and prevent rounded shoulders.

Taking these steps will not only improve your posture but also enhance your overall health and well-being.

Remember, it's never too late to start making positive changes for a healthier posture and a pain-free life.

Take a look at our sessions if you need further help and support:

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