Video 3 Correctives
In this article, we are going over how to correct your depressed or low shoulders using lifestyle modifications.
1st Corrective: Environment Fixes
You need to use arm rests, supports, pillows, or whatever you can under your elbows which raise up your shoulders to a neutral posture.
This is me sitting down (below), and as you can see my left shoulder height is clearly depressed. And I am trying to depress it, so I am cheating a little bit.
If we take a measurement, we come up with exactly 30 degrees.
Now, look at the supports under my left arms. As you can see, this measurement is different and is now 21.5 degrees which puts me in a neutral shoulder position.
This means that if you have a chair, it should have arm rests which actually elevate your shoulders to a neutral posture. However, if you are sitting on a couch, or in a car, you’re going to have to improvise a little.
This is me in the car without arm rests (below). And, just because I’m holding the steering wheel high with my left shoulder doesn’t mean that my shoulder is high or neutral.
So, one thing you can do is put your elbow under your knee to help raise up your shoulder.
These types of corrections are critical to make if you have symptoms that we talked about in video 1 from this series.
So, what happens if you don’t have anything to support yourself with?
This brings us into the 2nd set of Correctives: Correcting Your Posture (or active support)
When I’m just standing, you can see that my shoulders are depressed, (and I’m trying to depress them in this picture, so yes I am cheating a little bit, but I have clients that have depressed shoulders exactly like this). So, I have a 27.9 degree angle while standing up.
Now, what I want you to do is to shrug up your shoulders just a bit to get them neutral.
And, if we measure this, it comes out to be in neutral at 24.1 degrees.
And, you probably don’t shrug as much as you’d think. Just shrug just a little bit, and it should go a long way towards making a positive difference.
So, getting back to me standing with neutral shoulders, you can put your hands on your waist, in your pockets, but the key is to shrug up just a little bit, and this will allow you to get into the neutral shoulder posture.
Alright, we come to our last set of correctives in this video, and that is strategies for carrying stuff.
If you can avoid carrying very heavy stuff, please do it. But, if it’s a part of your job, I don’t expect you to quit your job. But, if you can make your job a little easier like using a cart, please do it.
If it means rolling a suitcase around or whatever you can, go for it. I realize most people won’t do this, but, for those of you in enough pain, you’ll likely try anything, so you should try this.
I want you to consider which shoulder your carry stuff with. Now, if you have a lower right shoulder, I don’t want you to carry stuff on that shoulder. But, let’s say you have to wear a backpack, or carry something using both shoulders, the question becomes:
Should you carry stuff with your hand, or drape it around your shoulder?
In my experience, if you have depressed or low shoulders, I recommend draping around your shoulder.
I’m not sure why, but I think most people will find it easier to get into a neutral shoulder position when you drape a strap around the shoulder. I think the forces around the shoulder tend to get more dissipated, so it doesn’t as easily depress the shoulder compared to holding on with your hand.
The bottom line is keep your shoulders neutral whether you are carrying something, or not.
There are a ton of ways to help balance out your depressed shoulders. If you have pain from depressed shoulders, you should make sure to use all of these strategies. You should also avoid carrying anything that weighs your shoulder down on that painful shoulder.
In the last corrective series, we’ll go through exercise to help you out. But, if you don’t have these lifestyle modifications in place, the exercise modifications aren’t likely to fully work.
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