Slightly uneven shoulders might be annoying, but they're pretty common. If you're right-handed, it's likely your right shoulder is slightly lower than the left -- and vice versa. However, significantly uneven shoulders can indicate poor posture. Less often, uneven shoulders are a sign of more serious conditions such as scoliosis. See a doctor if you have uneven shoulders to determine whether these exercises are safe for you.
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Read more: Why Is Posture Important?
Upper Trap Stretch
A tight upper trapezius muscle on the top of your shoulder can make it higher than your opposite shoulder.
Sit or stand up straight. To stretch your right side, tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder. Place your right arm behind your back.
Place your left hand on top of your head. Gently pull your head to bring your left ear closer to your left shoulder. Stop when you feel a strong pull along the side of your neck and top of your right shoulder.
Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times.
Shoulder Blade Squeezes
Weak shoulder blade muscles can make one shoulder higher than the other.
Stand in front of a mirror. With your arms relaxed by your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades down and together. Use the mirror to make sure your shoulders are level during this movement.
Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.
Rowing exercises strengthen muscles that help hold your shoulder in proper posture. Strengthen muscles on the side with the higher shoulder.
Secure one end of the exercise band to a sturdy object around waist-height. Hold the opposite end of the band in your hand.
Start with your arm resting next to your body. Keeping your elbow straight, squeeze your shoulder blade and pull the band backward as far as possible straight behind you.
Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.
Perform band pull-aparts while keeping your shoulders level.
Stand in front of a mirror and hold one end of the band in each hand. Straighten your elbows and raise both arms in front of you to shoulder height.
Keeping your elbows straight and palms rotated toward the ground, pull the ends of the band apart as far as possible. Watch yourself in the mirror to be sure your shoulders stay level throughout the movement -- do not let them shrug up toward your ears.
Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly bring your hands back out in front of you. Repeat 10 times.
Wall angels might sound easy, but it takes a lot of muscular effort to perform this exercise.
Stand with your back against a wall. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and lift them out to your sides at shoulder-height.
Press the back of your forearms, wrists and hands against the wall and keep them in contact with the wall throughout this exercise. Be sure that your shoulder blades stay in contact with the wall as well.
Slowly slide your arms up the wall and over your head until your hands touch, then slowly slide back down to the starting position. Only lift your arms as high as you can without losing contact with the wall.
Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row.
- Oregon Exercise Therapy: 10 Things That Lead to Postural Imbalances and Pain
- Journal of Athletic Training: Asymmetric Resting Scapular Posture in Healthy Overhead Athletes
- Active Solutions Physical Therapy: Proper Sitting Posture
- American Council on Exercise: Muscles that Move the Scapulae
- International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy: The Role of the Scapula