What is it?
People with uneven shoulders will notice one shoulder sitting higher than the other. Sometimes you can feel tightness and tension around the upper back or neck. Your neck can also be tilted towards the side of the higher shoulder to compensate for the asymmetry. You might also notice one shoulder rolling forward more than the other. When you have uneven shoulders, trying to stretch it out or strengthen certain muscles in the hope of improving symmetry often results in failure. This is because uneven shoulders aren’t caused by weak or tight muscles. The source of this problem is your resting muscle tone which comes from your spine.
Who has it?
People who have the habit of carrying bags on one shoulder are susceptible to developing uneven shoulders. Jobs involving repetitive, one-sided movements will also predispose you to this problem. If you’re a chef handling your culinary tools with your dominant hand or an office worker clicking your computer mouse endlessly, you’ll fit this group perfectly. Many people who sleep on their stomachs also complain their shoulders becoming uneven. A general rule of thumb is to look at your bad habits. We all have some, but sometimes our bad habits can mess with the normal resting tone of our muscles.
Why it happens?
The muscles around your neck, upper back and shoulders are naturally contracted, meaning they want to be tight and short. Fortunately, your brain prevents this by sending signals through your spine to those muscles, allowing them to be relaxed. This is known as your normal muscle resting tone. When you have bad habits, you will eventually develop a bad spine. Having a bad spine means that these signals from your brain experience interference as they travel through your spine. Once it reaches the muscles in your upper spine, the information is inaccurate and your shoulders lose its normal symmetry.
How it relates to your spinal health:
Any asymmetry in your body changes the way your spine moves. More weight and pressure builds up on one side, while the other side becomes lazy and underused. This causes irritation in your spinal joints which is why uneven shoulders can lead to having muscle spasms, poor mobility, tightness and stiffness. You can also strain or tear your rotator cuff muscles more easily if your shoulders are uneven. Over time, early degeneration happens in your spine as your stabilising muscles become more imbalanced.
What to do about it?
Chiropractic care should be the first line of treatment if you have uneven shoulders. Chiropractic adjustments to the spine helps to restore normal muscle tone in your shoulders, upper back and neck. This means they will be more relaxed and not contracting unnecessarily. Over time, your shoulders will become more even on both sides, relieving you of any discomfort and tension in that area. Combined with good habits, you want to prevent a reoccurrence with the help of chiropractic care. The more even your shoulders are, the younger your spine will be.