Is Shoulder Pain and the Low Back Connected?
There is a very overlooked connection between shoulder pain and low back pain. In fact, I did a piece on ABC news discussing the shoulders, specifically rounded shoulders and the upper back. The problem is that in today’s society, most people have very rounded shoulders. You can see it in a mirror and on most other people as well. Very few people have good all around posture. And poor posture leads to pain.
Okay, so how are the shoulders and low back connected? Well, with rounded shoulders, you will have a very tight chest and shoulders as well as a weak upper/middle back. The reason is that the chest is in a shortened position while the back is in an extended position. Just think of it like this… the chest shrinks and the back grows as the shoulders round. That makes the chest and shoulders tight, and the back is stuck in this lengthened position, which makes it weak over time.
Oh yeah, and one other thing you will see is the neck protrude forward to help balance you out. Sometimes, this is significant and other times, it is not that noticeable. But, if you see someone’s neck jutted forward a little bit, you can bet they also have rounded shoulders. All of this is bad and doesn’t look very good either. But, it’s become so common, that nobody notices very much unless it gets very pronounced.
So, as this happens in the upper torso, it also effects the core and low back, because everything gets torqued out of position. For most people, rounded shoulders leads to kyphotic posture, which means you have a flat low back. As the shoulders round more and more, you still have to keep balanced to not fall down. This is usually solved by tucking the butt under the hips and leaning back slightly, which leads to a very flat back.
The problem with that is that you lose the natural curve in your low back which is what helps give all the vertebrae and nerves their proper spacing. A flat low back moves the nerves and vertebrae too close together, which starts crushing them. And guess what? That hurts and low back pain is the result.
You have to focus on unrounding those shoulders with lots of proper stretching techniques and strengthening of the upper and middle back. Fortunately, it doesn’t take that long to start seeing and feeling some pretty nice results. And as the shoulders are pulled back by a strong upper back and a loosened chest, the low back can start getting its natural curve back, since you won’t fall down anymore if you have a nice little curve there again.
So, the moral of the story is not to just focus on the area of pain. You have to look at the whole body… in this case, rounded shoulders, and see if it is effecting the low back. Usually it does. I mean, people don’t just create a flat back for no reason. It is always in response to something else in the body. Obviously, fixing one key area then can have a domino effect on the rest of the body, which is great. You just have to find those key areas and correct them and then you will find that your pain starts to cool down very quickly and will eventually be eliminated.
That’s what S.M.S. is all about… finding those areas in your posture that are effecting the low back and fixing them naturally, with stretches and exercises, so you can bring yourself back into a healthy posture. By the way, it doesn’t just feel good, it looks so much better too!