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Downwardly Rotated Scapula, Upper Back Weakness and Scoliosis

My current stats:
88kg (190lbs)
185cm (6’1)

Hey guys, I’ve been wondering for a very long time what’s “wrong” with my shoulder area. I was recently diagnosed with minor scoliosis. My scapulas are downwardly rotated and sitting quite low (checked by my father). I think I have what is called drooping shoudlers and due to that constant knots in the shoulder blade area that never seem to disappear. I also think that this is the reason for why my acromion is so protruding at my shoulders. First I thought it was a AC separation but my bones and joints were perfectly normal and healthy according to an x-ray and the orthopedic surgeon who looked at it. I found people with similar problems on other forums and people said it was incorrect scapula position that made the acromion so visible.

I also experience loud clicks in both of my shoulders but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where from. I have a hard time to try to rotate my scapula upwards and a lat spread is almost impossible to perform. I have started doing exercises for the upward rotators, especially the upper traps as my right shoulder hangs significantly lower than my left (used to be worse). I also started to stretch my lats and pecs daily as I had problems with shoulder flexion. I also feel that my problem has gotten worse since I started working out 4 years ago. My acromion looks more protruding at my right shoulder but the bones were identical on the xray, which makes me think that something is not right.

I searched for downwardly rotated scapula and found this image which pretty much looks exactly like my problem, notice the acromion:

Notice the slope of the acromion coming from the scapula, I believe the scapula must be downwardly rotated and therefore making my ac joint more pointy and protruding.

Hopefully I can get some help and insight of my problem since I have not been able to get a clear answer. I noticed when doing overhead shrugs without weight that my upper traps get tired very fast, especially the right one. I think my upper traps look and are long and weak. This have made me a quite depressed lately as I just want to look symmetrical and normal.


it’s very rare that the upper traps are the problem in cases such as this, and strengthening them can actually make it worse.

Your whole upper back is basically just weak as shit. Lots, and I mean fucking loads of scapula retraction and upward rotation.

Rows and face pulls. Thousands and thousands of rows and face pulls. Prone Ys are great too. Do some scap push ups in your warm up before every workout.

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Okey thanks man, do you think it will solve my problems?

hopefully so. You need to be patient though and really diligent with it

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I understand, I will work the upward rotators like there is no tomorrow. I assume I should focus on this for a couple of months and put my regular schedule on hold. I did some exercises today for lower traps, serratus anterior and mobility and it felt like it was the first time using them so they are probably quite weak. My chiropractor basically said the same thing as you that the cause is due to muscle weakness. At least it all makes sense and im convinced this is the root to my stated problems.

If anyone else have something to add please come forward, I need all the help I can get.

retraction is a big part of it too so loads of rows.

Careful not to shrug your shoulders up when you row. Lots of people do that, particularly with barbell rows. A cable row is probably the best option for you for now. Really concentrate on pulling those shoulderblades back. Your arms are just along for the ride.

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I will, do you think my theory about the acromion is correct? And the muscle imbalance due to scoliosis making my shoulder areas look so asymmetrical? Since I’ve never injured myself I feel it must be the case.

I had actually forgotten this but when I checked the notes from my chiropractor he actually said my upper traps were tight and “hard”. I think this means that they are compensating for weak serratus anterior and weak lower traps in upward rotaton. He also said that there was some weakness in the rhomboids.

yup, that’s pretty standard

I have never seen anyone with protruding ac joints like me, since they aren’t injured it must be the downward rotatated scapulas, what do you think?

I think you’ve just got bony shoulders

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My wife has a major curve and twist to her scoliosis so her programming is pain staking and even in the best of times involves periods of set backs and injuries. PT with therapists who specialize in athletes with scoliosis was extremely beneficial.

Yeah I will visit a PT in a week and hopefully I can get some knowledge about my problem and how to correct it/improve it. Thanks for your help guys.

I think I may have a similar issue. Have had terrible neck pain for the last 5 years (left side only). Been to countless PTs but they have been of no help.

Any inputs would be much appreciated. Thanks.

My left scapula is also the one positioned a bit differently compared to the right, it is also the side I get occational pain around the scapula. I have no clue why and how to fix it. Was at a PT but he wasn’t really sure I guess. Where exactly is your pain located?

So other than the fact that my left scapula feels extremely unstable, I have a lot of pain around the rhomboids, traps and scalenes. The cross with the circle in my upper neck region is probably the worst.

Did you try the row and prone y exercises? Have they been of any help? I’m considering getting an MRI for the left shoulder if things don’t get better.

This is potentially relevant to all, but particularly @nk29:

Yes i have done batwing rows, prone y’s, band aparts, face pulls for a while now and it feels quite good, occasional pain but milder than before. Seem to be working well, if not you get a good posture at least which is more important than you think

Did you improve?