Spending most of your day behind the desk is the most common cause of poor posture which consequently results in problems such as hunched shoulders.
When left untreated the usual uncomfortable tight feeling caused by hunched shoulders might turn into something more serious and result in chronic pain or breathing issues.
In addition, we present you with some of the most common causes of hunched shoulders and how to treat and prevent this type of problem.
What causes hunched shoulders?
Many young adults suffer from back pain and other types of problems caused by poor posture. The lifestyle you lead is mostly what contributes to posture problems and hunched shoulders. The list is long and it spreads from habits like regularly carrying a heavy backpack to things we unconsciously do like lowering your head and shoulders when walking in an effort to avoid attention.
Furthermore, a great number of students have poor posture and experience back pain mostly due to spending long hours in front of their laptop or computer. Recent reports also suggest that both neck and shoulder pain are linked to staring down at your phone for prolonged periods of time. Cellphones are definitely a blessing and make our daily lives easier but keeping your phone placed between your ear and shoulder while walking can cause great damage to your shoulder.
There are some occupations like driving a truck or working in an office that can contribute to poor posture habits.
Let’s not forget that poor posture is not the only case for hunched shoulder and other things can have a negative effect and contribute to such problems as:
– Neck and spine injuries, even whiplash
– Obesity, because it can pull both your upper back and your shoulders forward
– Scoliosis and kyphosis
– Inappropriate workouts meaning working the chest and core muscles more than the back muscles
How to treat hunched shoulders
Generally speaking, stretching and gentle exercises can be helpful and bring pain relief, but some serious spinal conditions might require even a surgical procedure. Treatment mostly differs owing to the cause of hunched shoulder problems.
The best way to relieve tightness and pain caused by hunched shoulders is to focus on stretching your chest and arms.
The following exercises are simple, and you can do them at home:
– Arm circles
Start by standing up straight and spread your arms to each side and form a “T” shape. Do 20 clockwise circles with your arms and then 20 counterclockwise circles.
– Shoulder lifts
Lift your shoulders up while inhaling and then as you exhale roll your shoulders back and down to the starting position.
– A chest-stretch
Start by positioning your arms clasped behind your back and remember to keep them straight. Next, slowly lift your shoulders and stop when you feel a stretch in your chest area.
Feel free to do these exercises whenever you feel a tightness in your upper back or shoulders.
– Take a resistance band or some other similar object and tie it to a doorknob.
– Then, take and end in each hand and stretch it in front of you with your hands being straight.
– Slowly start pulling your arms sideways while squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do so. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
– First lie on one side depending on your elbow, which should be placed directly under your shoulder.
– With the help of your abdominal muscles move your hips up while your elbow and feet are steadily placed on the ground.
– Stay in this position for 30 seconds and then switch to the other side.
Prevent hunched shoulders
The previous stretches and exercises will improve your flexibility and help you build up strength and can contribute to preventing your shoulders from getting in the hunched position. However, before you go on to these practices, first you should experience what proper posture feels like and this can easily be done by doing the wall test.
The wall test is a simple technique that can be done by following these easy steps:
– Start by positioning your body so as the back of your head, your shoulders and buttocks are touching the wall, while your heels are placed two to three inches apart from it.
– Next, place a flat hand between the wall and your lower back and make sure you leave enough space for your hand to move in and out.
– In case there is too much space in between, pull in your belly button toward your spine to push your lower back closer to the wall.
– But, if there is not enough space for your hand, arch your back a little bit.
– Next, walk away from the wall while staying in this position and then come back and see if you have maintained it.
Repeat, the test a few times daily and after a while, you will be able to identify whether you need to improve your posture or not.