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Shoulder pain affects between 18% and 26% of American adults. In some cases, that pain stems from a traumatic injury like a broken bone or an ailment like osteoporosis or arthritis in the shoulder joints. However, some cases have a simpler cause: Bad posture. Yes, bad posture can cause shoulder pain. If you tend to slouch or spend long hours with your neck bent down over your phone screen, your posture could be the reason why your shoulders hurt so often. Read this article to learn more about the connection between bad posture and shoulder pain.
Why bad posture causes shoulder painBad posture can lead to a condition called a shoulder impingement. A shoulder impingement occurs when your rotator cuff muscles — the muscles that help stabilize your shoulder joints — become inflamed and irritated. This usually occurs because the bursa sac — the lubricating sac that helps the muscles glide over your shoulder bones — becomes itself inflamed, which causes a chain reaction of inflammation in the area around your body. Shoulder impingements are the top cause of shoulder pain in American adults. If left untreated, they can lead to rotator cuff tears that cause even more pain.
The connection between bad posture and shoulder impingementsPoor posture can push the top of your shoulder and your rotator cuff together, placing pressure on your bursa sacs. The more pressure placed on your bursa sacs, the more likely you are to irritate them. Over time, this pressure can lead to inflammation. Poor posture isn't the only thing that can cause shoulder impingements, though. Painting, swimming, weightlifting and other activities that put repetitive stress on your shoulders can put pressure on your bursa sacs and lead to a shoulder impingement over time.
How to tell if you have a shoulder impingementShoulder impingements usually have these symptoms:
- Pain on the top and side of your shoulder.
- Pain that worsens when you lift your arm above your head, out in front of your body or behind your body.
- Pain that worsens at night.
- Weakness or stiffness in your arm.