YOUR RESULT: Scapular winging with POSTERIOR Compression


Based on your assessment results, you have limitations that reflect a “compression”, or tightness, of the back (posterior) side of your upper body. This means that you have tight muscles in that region that are “pushing” your shoulders forward and restricting range of motion associated with the ability to elongate those muscles when necessary.

These muscles include:

  • Low Back Extensors
  • Levator Scapulae
  • Upper Traps

On the visualization, red arrows represent tight muscles and orange arrows represent where your body is being pushed/pulled as a result.

How does this cause scapular winging & rounded shoulders?

The body is primarily concerend with keeping you alive. An important way we do that is breathing. In fact, there is a good bit of evidence that suggests if you stop breathing, you die 😉

The body likes to self-organize itself in a manner which allows it to most easily move and stay upright against gravity. If you take a look at a normal human spine curve (without compensations), you’ll see it has a nice S-shaped curve to it:

The Beauty & Function of the Natural Curves of the Spine — Pilates Collective Denver

Notice how there should be a degree of “rounding”, or kyposis, in the upper back. The shoulder blade is actually a concave (rounded inward) structure that needs to sit on an upper back that is convex (rounded outward). This allows the shoulder blade to glide freedly on the back ribcage which then allows for movement to occur at the shoulder joint.

However, if there is compression within the lower and/or upper back, the shoulder blades are compressed and cannot move freely. A perfect example of this would be to try to stand up and arch your back then try this shoulder flexion test:

Muscles of Respiration - Physiopedia

That is an exaggerated example of where you currently are at. Your shoulder blade has moved outward and upward in a compensatory manner in an attempt for it to find movement it lacks due to the compression in your back.

When we inhale, we should expand our backs significantly. There is an area called the Posterior Mediastinal cavity which is essentially the back part of your ribcage where your lungs expand into. Notice how much bigger it is than the anterior (front) portion. If you cannot expand that area due to compression, air will go primairly forward when you inhale which will push your center of mass onto your toes and further compress your back. It’s a viscous cycle.


what can we do to fix it?

Restore Breathing Pattern

Many people who have tried to fix Scapular Winging/Rounded Shoulder by trying to stretch their way out of their problems. While it initially makes sense to stretch out tight muscles, this is addressing a problem in isolation rather than considering the multifactorial nature of posture. We want to address the underlying, root cause which is your lack of ability to expand your back ribage and elongate the muscles pushing you forward. This will allow those tight muscles to let go over time because they won't feel the need to compress you.

Balance Out Muscle Tone

You have likely been in this posture for quite some time now. Therefore, some muscles have gotten "tight", while muscles that oppose those tight tissues are now "longer" and weaker. We will help restore balance to your muscloskeletal system by strengthening the muscles that need it which will help restore balance to your system as a whole.

Strengthen Your New Posture

While it is important to be able to access a new posture, it is equally as important to "own it". We provide exercise routines to help you integrate your new posture into functional movement. This will help you and your body feel confident keeping this new postural orientaiton throughout the day and in tasks that stress the body.

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