Shoulder Muscle Imbalance Treatment

Shoulder muscle imbalance is a condition where muscle shortening or degeneration can cause postural changes, visible imbalance and significant pain.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our treatment of shoulder muscle imbalance aims to:

What is shoulder muscle imbalance?

The shoulder and neck have many muscles which are responsible for movement and stability. Muscle imbalance is usually due to muscle shortening or dysfunction where one shoulder drops and gives an uneven appearance, where the opposite side is overactive. Structural issues and muscle imbalances in the cervical spine (neck) or shoulder structures can result in either a slight or significant difference in shoulder alignment. The condition may not present itself until pain is triggered, by which point timely treatment is imperative to avoid worsened symptoms and chances of recurrent or other chronic issues.

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What are the types and causes?

Uneven shoulders and muscle imbalances typically worsen over time due to a variety of lifestyle factors, acute or chronic injury and/or pre-existing shoulder or spinal conditions. Some causes include:

  • Poor/improper posture – seated/standing/sleeping and duration of sedentary periods
    • Flat feet – affects standing posture and spinal muscle alignment
  • Dominant movement – sustained use of one side of the body, e.g. writing, technology use, etc.
  • Carrying on one side – constant use of one shoulder to carry bags or heavy loads
  • Overuse/misuse of the shoulder – includes playing sports like tennis or repetitive movements like scanning.
  • Muscle dysfunction or skeletal conditions – e.g. scoliosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.
  • Pre-existing shoulder injuries – acute or chronic musculoskeletal injuries

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain – mild to severe; in shoulder/neck/mid or lower back
  • Rounded shoulders/visible misalignment
  • Stiffness/inability to move the arm or shoulder
  • Reduced range of movement
  • Tightness or pulling of higher shoulder
  • Muscle weakness/tension/tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Tendency to maintain hunched/poor postures
  • Diagnosis of scoliosis or uneven hips
  • Co-morbid/differential diagnoses of other shoulder or spinal conditions, e.g. bursitis, tendonitis, etc.

Treatment for shoulder muscle imbalance

If you suspect you have uneven shoulders and/or related symptoms, it is important to see a physiotherapist or medical professional. You may also be referred for imaging tests to determine the location and extent of the condition, or to rule out a differential diagnosis.


Physical therapy is highly beneficial in improving balance and reducing pain. At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:

  • Stretching, strengthening and/or conditioning exercises
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • A unique home exercise program
  • Graded Exposure to load program

If the pain and reduced movement is severe, driving and strenuous activity should be avoided. Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck support or a suitable pillow.

How to book an appointment?

If you have uneven shoulders or a suspected shoulder muscle imbalance, or you’re looking for a physiotherapist around me, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by shoulder muscle imbalance? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

Contact us for more information on treatment

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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