What are Elevated Shoulders?

Having elevated shoulders refers to the movement distortion where the shoulder complex and muscles are raised up above the neutral alignment due to muscular strength imbalances around the rib cage and back muscles (rhomboids and trapezius). This can lead to pain and tension around the neck and shoulders, tension headaches, uneven hips and lumbo-pelvic instability.


How Does This Happen?

Long-term sedentary lifestyles, such as desk jobs, can cause us to have poor postures (slouching, leaning forward, and looking down) with weakness in our rib cage and back muscles. As a result, the shoulder blade and arm cannot be stabilized in a neutral fashion. To compensate, the shoulder blade and arm muscles become elevated, putting stress and tension on the cervical spine.

Signs of Elevated Shoulders

  • Tightness and pain around the neck, shoulders, and back
  • Restricted motion in overhead and pulling back movements of the arm
  • Lumbo-pelvic instability
  • Shortness of breath


How Do You Fix Elevated Shoulders?

To address the problem of elevated shoulders, it is important to strengthen the core and back muscles while relaxing the shoulder blades. We would recommend the following exercises:

  • Release – scalenes and upper trapezius 60 sec each
  • Activate – serratus anterior – wall press 2 x 20
  • Integrate – split stance band scaption 2 x 20
  • Strengthen – laying prone cobra 2 x 20