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5 Stretches to Help Shoulder Alignment

Posted on November 25, 2018 by Thomas Parker, MD
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In a society that requires office workers to spend long hours in front of a computer, poor posture and shoulder alignment are becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, many of us who sit in front of the computer aren’t easily able to pay attention to our posture while focusing on our work.

Sitting or standing with poor posture for extended periods of time can lead to tightness in the front shoulder and chest muscles that can pull your shoulder out of alignment. Because of that, we need to find ways to maintain loose muscles in these areas to keep our shoulders in the correct position.

web-black-1One way to help this issue is to get a device that helps keep your shoulders in their proper position, like the Adjustable Posture Helix. This compression sleeve/wrap helps keep your shoulders properly aligned and can improve posture over time by preventing the front muscles from getting too tight.  The Adjustable Posture Helix provides ongoing support to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints of the shoulders. 

If you have more severe shoulder problems, then in addition to using a posture correction device, it’s important to perform corrective stretches that help counter the postural issues of a desk job. Below, we’ve outlined five of the most effective stretches to help with shoulder alignment, which will help with posture correction.

Stretches

  1. Doorway stretchdesign-desk-display-313690 (1)

This stretch targets the pec minor muscle, which connects your shoulder to the front of your rib cage. This muscle is responsible for forward shoulder rotation. If it becomes tight, your shoulder can be pulled forward out of proper alignment.

How to perform the doorway stretch:

  • Stand at a doorway with your forearms on the doorframe and your elbows bent 90 degrees.
  • Keep your back straight and step forward with one leg, and lean into the doorway.

You should feel the stretch deep within your chest.

  1. Side-lying posterior capsule stretch

This stretch helps improve the range of motion of your shoulder joint by targeting the soft tissues of the posterior shoulder.

How to perform the side-lying posterior capsule stretch:

  • Lie on one side with the arm out on the floor straight out from your body.
  • Bend your elbow 90 degrees so that your forearm is straight up in the air.
  • Use the other arm to gently push your forearm down toward the floor.

You should feel this stretch in your shoulder within the socket area.

  1. Wall angel

This exercise helps strengthen and stretch the shoulder and back muscles that assist with posture alignment while opening up the chest muscles.

How to perform the wall angel:

  • Stand with your back against the wall and your feet about 4 inches away from the wall.
  • Bend your knees slightly and keep your glutes, spine, and head against the wall.
  • Keeping your arms against the wall, bring them up to your side with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and fingertips facing upward.
  • Keeping your arm against the wall and squeezing your shoulder blades together, reach up and straighten your elbows to create a “Y” shape with your arms.
  1. Upper trapezius stretch

This muscle connects your shoulder and neck, and is responsible for the movement, rotation, and stabilization of the shoulder blade. Keeping this muscle well stretched is important for keeping your shoulder blade properly positioned.

How to perform the upper trapezius stretch:

  • Sit on a firm surface.
  • With one arm, grasp the edge of the surface, keeping your arm straight.
  • Relax the shoulder of the side your grasping the edge with, and lean in the opposite direction.

You should feel this stretch in your neck on the same side that you’re grasping your seat with.

  1. Shoulder extension stretch with partner

Similar to the doorway stretch, this one also targets the pec minor. This stretch does require a partner, however.

How to perform the shoulder extension stretch with a partner:

  • Lie on your back with arms to your side.
  • Have your partner place one hand at the small depression between your shoulder and chest and push down and slightly upward.
  • Hold for 20 seconds and relax.web-side

Conclusion

There you have it – five stretches that can help fix shoulder alignment.

 

If you’re serious about fixing your shoulder alignment, then in addition to performing these stretches, consider getting a device like the Adjustable Posture Helix that can help maintain proper shoulder alignment throughout the day. 

Thomas Parker, MD

Thomas Parker, MD

About the Author: Thomas E. Parker, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Body Helix, is a retired physician, with a practice specialty of Internal Medicine. He attended The Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at Duke University Medical Center. Parker received the distinction of “Top Doctor” in Charlotte Magazine in 2011, 2012, and 2014. In 2008, Parker became involved in Body Helix as a founding member and Chief Science Officer with the responsibility of overseeing product development, safety and guiding marketing materials to reflect scientifically accurate claims.

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