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Unraveling the Mystery of Shoulder and Neck Pain: The Hidden Culprit



Unraveling the Mystery of Shoulder and Neck Pain: The Hidden Culprit


As a physical therapist, I encounter numerous cases of shoulder and neck pain, each with its unique set of challenges. Many individuals believe the discomfort solely originates in the upper body, but there's often a hidden culprit beneath the surface. Today, let's delve into the intriguing connection between shoulder and neck pain and an often-overlooked factor – the elevated pelvis and shifted rib cage.


When clients walk into my clinic complaining of shoulder and neck pain, they describe aching, stiffness, and sometimes even radiating discomfort down the arms. While addressing these symptoms is crucial, understanding the root cause is paramount for effective treatment.

One common scenario I frequently encounter involves an elevated pelvis on the dominant side, accompanied by a subtle shift in the rib cage. This asymmetry can lead to a cascade of issues, causing strain and tension in the surrounding muscles, ultimately manifesting as pain in the shoulders and neck.





The elevated pelvis creates an imbalance in the spine, affecting the alignment of the shoulders and neck. Over time, this misalignment can lead to muscle imbalances, joint restrictions, and even nerve compression. It's like a domino effect that starts at the pelvis but reverberates throughout the upper body.


Now, let's explore some treatment options to address this underlying issue and alleviate shoulder and neck pain:


  1. Manual Therapy: Skilled hands-on techniques, such as joint mobilizations and soft tissue manipulation, can help restore proper alignment and reduce muscle tension. Targeting the pelvis and rib cage is crucial to rebalancing the entire musculoskeletal system.

  2. Movement Correction Exercises: Tailored exercises focusing on correcting posture and strengthening specific muscle groups can be immensely beneficial. These exercises help address the imbalances created by the elevated pelvis and shifted rib cage, promoting better alignment.

  3. Flexibility: Having flexible muscles are essential to providing alignment at the pelvis and hip to maintain proper spinal alignment. Alignment acts as a foundation, preventing excessive shifts and imbalances in the upper body, thus leading to more success with strengthening exercises later implemented.

  4. Patient Education: Informing patients about the importance of maintaining good posture and body mechanics in their daily activities is crucial. Simple adjustments in sitting, standing, and sleeping habits can contribute significantly to long-term relief.

  5. Home Exercise Program: Providing patients with a customized home exercise program ensures continuity of care. Consistent engagement in prescribed exercises helps reinforce the progress achieved during therapy sessions. #UNLOCKEDMove



By addressing the elevated pelvis and shifted rib cage, we can unravel the mystery behind shoulder and neck pain. It's about looking beyond the surface symptoms and understanding the interconnectedness of the body. As physical therapists, our goal is not just to treat the pain but to empower individuals with the knowledge and tools to maintain a balanced and healthy musculoskeletal system.




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