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Shoulder Pain and Neck Pain – When Pelvic Instability and Glute Inhibition are the Root Cause

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Shoulder pain and neck pain can be traced back to pelvic instability sometimes (not always). 

For reference, what I mean by “shoulder pain” is any pain/injury near or in your shoulder joint (it could be soft tissue pain like pain in your lateral or anterior deltoid, or feel like it’s in the joint itself). I will be talking about mid back pain (related to rotator cuff instability, which itself can often be traced back to pelvic instability) in another video, so check that one out if your shoulder pain is in the back, between your shoulder blades, in your thoracic spine or ribs. 

Neck pain is anything in the soft tissue around your cervical spine (front or back, or shooting up into your head), or pain in the cervical spine itself. 

The primary way that you can end up with shoulder or neck pain due to pelvic instability us via muscle compensations for lack of core or hip stability. 


For example, when you’re doing pilates or yoga or a strength training workout that requires a strong core, your anterior neck muscles (SCM’s and scalenes) will often strongly contract if you are not engaging your deep lower core in order to stabilize your spine on one end. 

My theory is that the brain will prioritize an uncompromised spine above everything (since without a healthy spine you could die).


I believe the brain seeks a “rooted” stability (secure attachment) at one end, in order to let the rest of the spine be fluid and free. So either you need a rooted strong pelvis and sacral/lumbar spine, OR you need a secure cervical spine. If you have neither, your thoracic spine will take a big hit and the muscles around your trunk will compensate, often leading to mid back pain, hunchback posture, overworked obliques/diaphragm/rectus abdominis…

It’s preferable (healthy) to be rooted in your pelvis, since this is your center of gravity and where all of your power for torque, propulsion and breathing comes from. Using your cervical spine instead of your sacrum to stabilize your whole spine is asking for trouble down the road, since these are tiny muscles compared to the ones in your pelvis and core. 

Another way your body might compensate is to use your arm and shoulder muscles when “grip” communication is lost…again, due to restriction in the scalene area due to overuse from compensation (or, from looking down at your phone or computer!)

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