T Nation

Correcting Unequal Shoulders?


My right shoulder is lower than my left. It has been since school due to one-armed backpack carrying. I notice it in my presses and in neck rotations. Is there any way to correct this??


I don't think its from one-armed backpack carrying.
The underlying problem is probably a scoliosis of the back.

Ask BushidoBadboy


Do a postural analysis on anybody and you will find the same discrepancy!

The degree of shoulder elevation/depression varies of course from individual to individual. In most instances it has to do with handedness (are you right handed or left handed). I find that the side that is lower is usually the hand they work with but this is not always the case.

For the most part people have tight over active upper traps on the elevated side with corresponding tightness in the lateral neck muscles. The nipple line can also be off with one nipple higher than the other. You will also find peoples heads turning to one side and jutting forward. This is all down to repetitive ADL's like driving, working, sleeping on one side etc...

If you are really worried about it go to a professional and get assessed. Ask for a thorough postural assessment.


I'd ditch the heavy backpack on one shoulder myself. Wear it proper and lessen it's weight if you can.


It's rarely related to holding a backpack on one side or scoliosis. Usually a low shoulder originates from a scapular anterior tilt on the low side. Strengthening lower traps and serratus anterior along with pec minor stretching/soft tissue work will go a long way.

You'll also see people with prominent left rib flairs who have low right shoulders. This is more of a bugger to fix and requires some breathing retraining in conjunction with corrective strategies for pelvic positioning.



I had a problem with that and alot of my training partners do as well. I corrected it as much as was possible by doing all my light deadlift stuff double overhand. The other guys fixed it by switching grips on DL. I cant do this because of a previous injury which prevents me.


I say the unequal shoulder height can be cause by one sided backpack carrying.

I delivered newpapers from 10 years old to 17. I always carried the bag over my right shoulder which is now disproportionate to my left. My doctor thought I had a curved spine until he looked closer.

The problem has been almost entirely corrected by just training evenly on both sides.


Good to know. I still don't understand rib flare. I remember you saying something about being supine with one leg elevated and one arm held over the head to Identify it or something.