Today, we are going to explore the relationship between the shoulders, ribs and upper back, to help explain how an upper back or rib adjustment can help with shoulder injuries!

In a healthy and efficiently moving individual you will find the shoulder blade (or scapula) gliding over the ribs, which attach into the upper back (or thoracic spine).

Shoulder overhead motion is only approximately 165-170 degrees – the remaining 10-15 degrees comes with proper upper back extension. When we lack upper back mobility the risk of shoulder injuries (especially in overhead positions) rises.

Furthermore, our lack of mobility may lead to compensation elsewhere in the kinetic chain. Most commonly, we extend our low back to achieve shoulder range of motion, which as you can expect can lead to low back pain!

To better understand – try this: While standing, slump your shoulders, upper back and head forward. Maintaining this posture attempt to lift your arms into an overhead position. See how hard it is!

Now try to retract (or pull your shoulders back), straighten your upper back, as well as your neck. Maintaining this posture NOW attempt to lift your arms into an overhead position. Much easier, right?

Now back to the adjustments: One of the main goals of the adjustment is to improve the functional range of motion of the targeted joint. By optimizing the upper back or rib motion, we help promote functional shoulder range of motion – which can help with those pesky shoulder injuries!

As with any type of injury – the best approach is a combination of therapy options that can be determined following an appropriate physical examination of the injured body region. Therapy options can include modalities such as adjustments, medical acupuncture, muscle release techniques, shockwave therapy, exercise programming & more!

Holland Landing Health Centre is located in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in chiropractic treatment please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at



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