If you are unsure whether you have rounded shoulders or to what extent, then this quick read is for you!
Rounded shoulders are quite common and as you might know, the name comes from the characteristic rounding forward and inwards of the shoulders.
This bad postural habit can be anywhere from mostly harmless to putting you at high risk for injuries or pain.
In any case, it should not be taken lightly, because even with slightly rounded shoulders it is likely to worsen over time unless you do something about it.
Issues With Rounded Shoulders
Common problems with rounded shoulders are a loss of mobility, sore neck and/or upper back and in worst cases pain.
In the severe cases, it can cause a lot of pain both in head, neck, and back. It creates issues with muscle balances and your spine as it is also being pulled forward.
Rounded shoulders also put you at risk of shoulder injury if you do sports or weight training which I can highly recommend.
By the way, I have had a shoulder injury before and I can tell you that it is something you want to avoid!
Of course, rounded shoulders also doesn’t look that pretty which is enough reason to fix it for some people.
How To Tell If You Have Rounded Shoulders
There are many ways to detect whether you have rounded shoulders and I have listed several below.
You don’t have to do them all, but I recommend trying out more than one. Also, it is super easy to do.
An Easy Observation at Home
A great way to determine if you have rounded shoulders is looking at the way your hands naturally position themselves.
All you need to do is stand with your arms and shoulders relaxed, and observe the position your thumbs are in. When they are positioned further inwards, it’s a possibility that you have rounded shoulders.
The rounding of the shoulder forces the hand to be pushed inward when they should be straight ahead. This is a simple exercise that you can perform on your own.
You can check out this video for a clear demonstration. It is by Rick Kaselj who is an awesome physiotherapist and well-known online for his many helpful information products.
Perhaps his most popular product is the one about fixing tight hip flexors. I wrote a review of that program which you can check out here if interested.
A Bit More Advanced Approach
For a more advanced way to detect if you have rounded shoulders, use the “cheekbone to collarbone” trick.
You can do this in two ways. One way is getting in front of the mirror and drawing an invisible line from your cheekbone to the collarbone.
The other way is by simply getting a side profile picture of your upper body. If the collarbone is behind or doesn’t match up with the cheekbone, rounded shoulders may be present.
Shoulders Rolling Forward
Another simple yet great way to tell if you have rounded shoulders is just being mindful of how your shoulders are usually positioned or used.
You might not have noticed what is going on before if it is part of your daily routine.
Consider your posture when doing things such as reading, looking at your phone/tablet/computer, driving, bending over, carrying heavy items.
The kind of exercise or sports you do could also have a strong influence. Do pressing or throwing movements dominate? (they often do).
Another thing is that if you are often stressed or anxious muscles in your upper body tend to tighten and roll upwards and/or forwards.
If that is the case rounded shoulders is not your only problem. You will have to manage your stress and become better at relaxing your mind.
As one of the common issues with rounded shoulders is decreased mobility, you can test how easy it is for you to lift your hands above your head.
If it is hard or you experience tightness in the shoulders this is a good indication that you have rounded shoulders.
Visiting a Professional
Doing tests at home is simple and should enable you to find figure out whether you have rounded shoulders or not.
However, visiting a professional is obviously the surest way to find out.
Good News for You – Here Is How You Can Fix It
The upside is that rounded shoulders can be fixed, both before or after they begin to cause problems for you and your body.
It will take commitment especially in the beginning, but it will benefit you in the long run.
There are many different exercises you can do, but you don’t have to a lot of them.
There are also some products that can help you fix your rounder shoulders. I wrote a buyer’s guide on such products. If interested you can my article titled best posture corrector for rounded shoulders.
Here are some simple stretches that you can do that won’t take up much of your time. For fast improvement, I would say you should do these them daily.
As a minimum, you should do these 2-3 times per week.
The “Wall Corner Stretch”
While standing one to two feet from the corner, straighten both arms parallel to the floor. Press your palms on the wall, while leaning forward and bringing your head and chest out. Hold the position for thirty seconds.
“Wide Superman” / “Wall Angels”
In a prone position, lie facing the floor. While your arms are extended to the side, elevate your abs, chest, and arms away from the floor. For the best outcome, repeat this motion ten times for three seconds each.
You can also do similar movement while standing glued to the wall.
“Front Shoulder Stretch”
You’ll need a chair or something similar for this one. Facing away from the chair, place both of your hands on it, allowing your body to be as low as possible. While keeping your elbows in and your shoulders blades squeezed, you’ll begin to feel a stretch at the front of your shoulders.
I talk more about exercises to fix rounded shoulders here.
You can also check out this cool article from Medical News Today.
Other Treatment Methods
Massage therapy is also useful to fix rounded shoulders and it is very relaxing and feels great.
You could also try acupuncture. Personally, I am not so sure what to think about acupuncture, but it seems like there are some benefits.
The Bottom Line
Rounded shoulders are a common issue due to our modern lifestyle. It is not very hard to detect and it definitely worth putting some effort into correcting.
I would say that if you are trying to figure it out whether you have this problem or not, then you likely have rounded shoulders.
It will require commitment and effort to fix, but there are some products that can help you out.