Poor Posture and shoulder impingement…

Shoulder disorders are among the most common of musculoskeletal disorders. The shoulder is made up of three bones; humerus, scapula or and the clavicle.  These three bones are attached by a series of muscles and tendons called a rotator cuff.  There is a lubricating sac at the top of your humerus called the bursa that allows the rotator cuff to move easily when you perform arm movements.  If the rotator cuff tendons become injured or if the bursa becomes inflamed, pain will result in the shoulder.  When you raise your arm to shoulder-height, the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion narrows which leads to shoulder impingement.

Shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS) is the most common of all shoulder disorders and affects patients of all ages, athletes from a variety of sports and people of different activity levels.  People who are constantly doing repetitive overhead movements related to their jobs or athletic activities are most at risk of SIS. Recent research has linked poor posture to an increased risk of shoulder pain, particularly impingement syndromes. Poor posture is associated with the impingement process due to changes in the position of the scapula, increased thoracic kyphosis, and an associated imbalance of the surrounding musculature. These changes are thought to produce an impingement under the acromion, creating a mechanical block to elevation of the humerus and irritation of the subacromial tissues.

Long term success rates are lowered if the underlying poor posture remains uncorrected. Postural correction needs to consider the entire frame of the body and not just the shoulders on its own. There is a lot that can be done with home exercises to help your upper back and shoulder posture. Exercises focused on restoring normal shoulder alignment and an opening up of the subacromial space will take the pressure off the subacromial bursa and the supraspinatus tendons, allowing healing and recovery to take place. Don’t let poor posture be the source of SIS. For a holistic approach contact Absolute Balance at info@absolutebalance.com.au for more information on how an AEP can help you correct your posture and reduce the risk of SIS.


Victoria Bago (B.Sc-ExSportsSc, GraddipSc – ExRehab, GraddipEd-Sec)


Jeremy S. Lewis, Christine Wright, Ann Green. (2005). Subacromial Impingement Syndrome: The Effect of Changing Posture on Shoulder Range of movement. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sport Physical Therapy. Vol 35 (2).

Richard Gliddon (2017) Is Poor  Posture Causing your Shoulder Impingement Syndrome? Spine Centre.

Rafael F Escamilla, Todd R Hooks, and Kevin E Wilk (2014). Optimal management of shoulder impingement syndrome. Journal of Sports Medicine. Vol 5 (13-24).