Here are the first three blog posts in this series:
Part 1: Introduction to how the body works as a unit
Part 2: Foot and leg posture
Part 3: Hip and spine posture
Basic anatomy lesson
Does spinal posture affect shoulder position?
This image shows the major nerves and blood vessels that run through and around the shoulder joint. You can easily understand how any change in the position or movement of any of these bones has the potential to compress, pinch, or otherwise impede normal function of these nerves or blood vessels. The shoulder is designed perfectly and is a very resilient joint, but it must be kept in good postural alignment and maintain normal range of motion to continue to work pain free.
How shoulder range of motion is affected by spinal posture.
Increased thoracic flexion or thoracic kyphosis changes the position of the scapula and clavicle and puts them in a position where they cannot go through their normal range of motion which decreases arm range of motion and increases stress on the tissues of the shoulder joint.
The imagine on the left shows normal thoracic flexion which allows the scapula, clavicle, and humerus to move through a normal range of motion. The image on the right shows increased thoracic flexion or thoracic kyphosis which limits the ability for the scapula, clavicle, and humerus to move through a normal or full range of motion.
As the shoulder joint flexes the scapula has to rotate to allow smooth pain free movement. Thoracic kyphosis limits the rotational ability of the scapula and causes increased stress on the rotator cuff increasing the chance of tendonitis, bursitis, and tears.
During normal shoulder flexion the clavicle tilts to allow normal joint mechanics. Thoracic kyphosis decreases the ability for the clavicle to tilt freely and this can cause AC joint impingement, rotator cuff impingement, and frozen shoulder.
Does shoulder posture affect spinal position?
What happens if one shoulder rounds forward more than the other shoulder?
The great thing in any case of scoliosis is that you can balance out the posture of the hips, spine, and shoulders with specific posture exercises that target the underlying imbalances and restore symmetry. The key to becoming pain free is looking at the body as a unit and remembering that the human body is a stimulus response organism and can heal itself.