Droopy Shoulders Syndrome

An exception to use of part 1 of Fix the Shoulder Blades Exercise is a condition called Droopy Shoulders Syndrome (DSS) that is mainly present in women with low set, steeply sloping shoulders and long, swan necks. Their collar bones (clavicles) slope down at the outer ends rather than the usual slope up. In lateral neck x–rays, all of the 7th cervical vertebra, the 1st thoracic and sometimes part of the 2nd are easily seen when usually the shoulders prevent visualization. Pain in neck, shoulder, arms, hands is aggravated by downward traction on shoulders and relieved by propping up the arms, and may involve Thoracic outlet syndrome. In DSS the shoulder blades are already held too low on the back and don’t need to be lower. Maintaining a slight lift of the shoulders so they are more squared helps. Part 2, Pinch the Shoulder Blades Together is still useful if shoulder blades are wider apart than 4 inches. Consult your physician or physical therapist. See “The Droopy Shoulder Syndrome,” L. Clein, and “The Droopy Shoulder Syndrome” by Swift and Nichols]

My neighbor had neck, shoulder and arm pain (around the biceps muscle). Her shoulders were obviously very sloped down, and her neck seemed very long. I urged her to see a physical therapist, which she did. Luckily the head physical therapist (not the assistant) knew how to help her. The advice was to keep her shoulders raised a bit. I recently talked to her and noticed her shoulders are more squared and she says her pain is gone. It has only been recently that I realized the clavicle (collar bone) in front in most people slopes up toward the outside ends., showing that the shoulder blades, which are attached to the clavicle near the shoulder joint are held a little higher.  But hers are straight horizontal. Wish I’d noticed whether her clavicles were downwardly sloped before she got the therapists advice to lift her shoulders.

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