What are the Common Causes of Uneven Shoulders

There are various reasons why uneven shoulders may develop. Some causes are congenital, while others relate to posture or muscle imbalances.

Many people don’t even realize they have uneven shoulders until they see a photo of themselves or are told by someone else. While uneven shoulders may not cause pain or problems, some people may feel self-conscious about their appearance. Several treatment options are available to help improve the symmetry of the shoulders.

Congenital conditions causing uneven shoulders

As mentioned, some cases of uneven shoulders are due to congenital conditions. This means that the person is born with the disease. Some of the most common genetic conditions that can cause uneven shoulders include:

Sprengel’s deformity

Sprengel’s deformity, also known as congenital high scapula, is a genetic disability that affects the shoulder blade. The condition is characterized by a raised and rotated position of the scapula, which can often protrude from the back. In severe cases, the deformity can also cause the neck to be shortened. Sprengel’s deformity is relatively rare, occurring in only about 1 in 40,000 births.

The cause of the condition is unknown, but it is believed to be due to abnormal development of the tissues that connect the shoulder blade to the spine. Treatment for Sprengel’s deformity typically involves surgery to reposition the affected shoulder blade. In most cases, this can provide significant improvements in function and appearance.


Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves to the side. While it can affect people of any age, it most commonly develops during adolescence. If the angle is mild, it may not cause any symptoms. However, scoliosis can lead to back pain, difficulty breathing, and deformity in more severe cases.

There is no cure for scoliosis, but several treatment options are available. While surgery is an option for severe cases, many people with scoliosis find relief with exercise and physiotherapy. The best exercises for scoliosis-related back pain include strengthening the core muscles, stretching the back and chest muscles, and doing low-impact aerobics. With proper treatment, most people with scoliosis can lead relatively everyday lives.

Klippel-Feil syndrome

Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS) is a rare hereditary disease in which two or more cervical vertebrae are fused. The condition may be associated with many other anomalies, including spina bifida, scoliosis, and hearing loss. KFS is believed to affect approximately 1 in 40,000 individuals worldwide. The cause of KFS is unknown, but the condition is believed to result from a developmental abnormality.

KFS is typically diagnosed in childhood, but the severity of symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. In some cases, surgery may be required to correct spinal deformities or to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. With early diagnosis and treatment, individuals with KFS can often lead normal lives.

Posture and muscle imbalances

Your posture and how you use your muscles can create imbalances that contribute to pain, injury, and decreased mobility. For example, if you sit hunched over a computer all day, your shoulders and neck muscles will become tight. In contrast, the muscles in your lower back will become weak. This can lead to pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders and an increased risk of injury to your lower back.

sitting in the chair all day

The good news is that there are things you can do to correct these imbalances and prevent pain and injury. First, focus on improving your posture. This means sitting up straight with your shoulders back and down, keeping your head level, and taking regular breaks to move around. Second, strengthen the muscles that are weak and stretch the tight muscles. This can help to correct the imbalances and improve your overall mobility. By taking these steps, you can help to prevent pain, injury, and decreased mobility.

What to do

Most people do not notice their uneven shoulders until they experience pain or notice a change in their appearance. If you have uneven shoulders, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor. They will be able to assess the cause of your condition and recommend the best course of treatment. In most cases, uneven shoulders can be treated with a combination of exercise, physiotherapy, and surgery. With proper treatment, most people can find relief from their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

The bottom line

Uneven shoulders can have many causes, ranging from congenital conditions to posture and muscle imbalances. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for uneven shoulders. Still, a combination of exercise, physiotherapy, and surgery can often provide relief from symptoms. With proper treatment, most people with uneven shoulders can lead relatively normal lives.



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