Thoracic Mobility

The shoulder joint is extremely vital for so many overhead sports and positions during a workout at the gym. The shoulder has such a large range of motion in so many different planes to help achieve countless powerful movements.

Quite frequently the shoulder will become injured and cause considerable pain especially for the overhead athletes. A lot of the time the actual cause of the problem can be hard to identify, but a common issue that contributes to shoulder injuries is due to poor posture especially coming from the thoracic spine.

A recent paper demonstrates that having a slouched posture decreases your shoulder mobility and changes the muscle recruitment in your neck and shoulders. This slouched or sedentary posture is something a large majority of us suffer from, as we spend endless hours on our backsides.

Biomechanically speaking and as a firm believer that structural imbalances can lead to functional problems, I’m not at all surprised with the results. The results of the study suggest that an increased thoracic kyphosis (slouched position) was found to be associated with reduced peak shoulder angle that can be reached during arm elevation.

Furthermore, the study shows that the serratus anterior, upper and lower trapezius muscles are more active when doing an arm elevation in a slouched position compared to a straight position. In a flexed position you will need to overuse the scapula as it is in a compromised position, so when the arm is overhead, the scapula needs to track further than it normally should in order to achieve the desired overhead position. This can lead to impingement, tendonitis and chronic instability of the glenohumeral joint.

This study really demonstrates the importance of correct thoracic and shoulder mobility and how poor posture can lead to injuries for the overhead athlete. As a Chiropractor, we are focused on influencing the bodies function through structural correction and having the athletes musculoskeletal system as strong and stable, and biomechanically prepared for the rigors of training, competition and eventual injury.

Please call your Chiropractor at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.


A slouched body posture decreases arm mobility and changes muscle recruitment in the neck and shoulder region, by Malmström, Olsson, Baldetorp & Fransson. European Journal of Applied Physiology (2015)

Image Credit: speedoglyn1