Poor posture is likely not the cause of your shoulder blade pain.

Instead, staying in one posture or position for too long or overuse of the muscles in the mid back due to repetitive motions are more likely the culprits. 

In the remainder of this article, I will share with you in more detail about posture, whether there is good or bad posture, and its relationship to shoulder blade pain.

Read this article linked in this sentence If you are primarily looking for shoulder blade-targeted exercises and stretches or this one for a slightly different take on it.

Table of Contents

    Key Takeaways

    • Poor posture is a societal construct. There is a weak if non-existent correlation with pain. 
    • Poor posture is a belief that we collectively accepted as a society and if one wants to change their posture because they feel that they will look better, that’s totally fine. 
    • Muscle imbalance really isn’t a big deal unless the strength difference starts to creep past 15-20% of the unaffected side. 
    • There is no need to change up your workstation if you don’t feel it’s contributing to symptoms. If it is then the best thing to do is to change your posture throughout the day as much as possible until symptoms subside. 
    • Make it a habit to lift weights, stretch, and walk each week. Even a small amount is much better than zero. 

    What is poor posture?

    Poor posture (hint, there really is no such thing) is typically defined as a forward or curved neck posture with shoulders slouching, rounded shoulders, or hunching forward. Put in other words, a hunched forward posture. 

    But, is this really, poor posture? I want to dive into this a little bit. 

    Let’s answer the elephant in the room. Is slouching bad? 

    If you say “yes,” why do you say yes?

    Is this because you’ve been conditioned by society to believe that? 

    I want you to really think back to the first time you heard or “saw” the definition of poor posture. 

    Posture Is A Societal Construct

    I think the bigger reason people have a such an opinion on good or bad posture is that we assume that people with “good” very upright posture are confident, strong, and capable. They are projecting the strongest version of themselves, allegedly.

    For those that have a hunched forward posture, we, as a society (generally), assume that they are either depressed, less confident, or in pain. 

    While there may be some truth to the confidence and depression argument, these are mainly signs of depression and confidence. The posture itself didn’t cause it, and changing the posture likely won’t fix it. If you are depressed, work with a mental health professional, start healthy habits, and use medication as recommended by your doctor. 

    If you lack confidence, work with a coach to build confidence. No amount of “posturing,” is going to change these realities. That’s a quick-fix mentality. We don’t have a quick-fix mentality here, do we?

    So, with all that being said, if posture is a societal construct, then we should probably stop obsessing over it so much. It’s exhausting. Live your life, change your postures often, and be happy. 

    But… if you’re not convinced, I’ll cover how posture could produce some shoulder blade pain, as that’s what you’re here for, right?

    Can Poor Posture Cause Shoulder Blade Pain?

    As we’ve discussed already, poor posture is not a thing other than from a societal perspective assuming health and confidence. 

    But,  I think there is some truth that if you are in a sustained posture for a very long time that you do have the chance to irritate certain structures. 

    Sometimes it’ll be your low back, sometimes your shoulder blade, today it’s my neck, other days it might be your hip. 

    If you don’t move and stay in the same posture for many hours, day in and day out, you might develop some pain due to sustained pressure on one specific area. 

    However, the inverse is also true. A lot of people probably do this and have no issues, so it’s not a one size fits all.

    So if you want to be healthier and have less pain, just switch up how you’re sitting, standing and moving every hour or couple of hours, get up and move around, go for a walk, stretch, lift weights, be active. This is your best medicine. 

    Tips for Changing or Improving Your Posture

    I struggle to use the word “improving,” as it relates to posture as I don’t think in many cases, for the general population that there is a need to improve posture for pain prevention. 

    What you’d be better off doing is lifting weights, going for walks, and engaging in fun physical activity. That will be much better for you than becoming anal-retentive about posture. 

    In any case, let’s say that you want to change your posture into a more upright posture because you think it looks better. I have no qualms with that.


    Here are a couple of simple ways to do it:

    • Resistance training (lifting weights). Back exercises such as bent-over rows, reverse flyes and seated rows, as well as back hyperextensions.
    • Stretches. Cobra, prone swimmer, supine snow angels.
    • Awareness. When you notice you are slouching

    Do “Muscle Imbalance” have anything to do with shoulder blade pain and posture?

    First of all, having a muscle that is slightly larger or between a 5-10% difference in strength is not a problem, whatsoever. 

    If you have strength discrepancy of 20% or greater is when I start to pay closer attention as this could mean that you have some sort of issue going on that may be contributing to symptoms. 

    So, while a muscle imbalance (strength imbalance) that is quite large could be an issue, most people won’t have this issue and one of the last things I would investigate. 

    Should You Make Ergonomic Adjustments to Your Workspace?

    If you have a very repetitive task and you notice that your pain has become a pattern then I would suggest changing up your workspace every so often (if this is a contributing factor). 

    If you’ve had the same work setup for years and never had an issue then I’d likely not use this as a first line of defense as a few exercises and time should do the trick. 

    Is being mindful of your posture throughout the day, important?

    It’s only important if you actively want to change your posture for appearance reasons or if you notice that you do stay in one position for an extended period of time. 

    Being mindful, of how you’re feeling and checking in with your body ever so often is a healthy practice, anyways. If you’re the type of person that never slows down to think, this will be good for you.

    If you’re the type of person who is always thinking, it might help you to be “less mindful.”

    As with most things in life, the answer is always more gray. 


    Poor posture in most cases isn’t really poor posture and is mainly a societal construct that we’ve decided to believe. 

    If you want to work on changing your posture because you believe it will improve your appearance there is no shame in that and good for you!

    If you’re struggling with pain please consult your trusted physical therapist or physician so they can help you get started on the right path. You can always get a massage too to help decrease pain in the short term!

    Thank you for reading!