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Thoracic Kyphosis and Shoulder Range of Movement

This lecture slide for client Dr. Judi Laprade was produced as part of a course in the Biomedical Communications program and used in a presentation for Osteoporosis Canada. The aim was to create a visual for kinesiology and physical therapy students explaining the relationship between kyphosis and shoulder range of movement. The accompanying narrative script is as follows:

“Shoulder range of motion is dependent upon multiple joints in order to reach full elevation.
What is often not appreciated, however, is that there is a connection between the changes in thoracic spine alignment and shoulder range. With normal thoracic kyphosis, the scapula is free
to rotate along the scapulothoracic joint as the shoulder is elevated. This allows for full and normal elevation of the humerus.


With increasing kyphosis, however, the scapula becomes more protracted. In this protracted state, the scapula's rotational range is restricted along the scapulothoracic joint. As the humerus moves through elevation, the greater tubercle of the humerus impinges under the acromion of the protracted scapula, causing a mechanical restriction of the humerus. Therefore, normal shoulder elevation cannot be achieved with thoracic hyperkyphosis.”


Kinesiology and physical therapy students


Dr. Judi Laprade, Prof. Michael Corrin


January 2018

Tools Used

Adobe Illustrator


Lecture slide

Published In

Laprade, J. (2018). BACK me up! An Anatomical Review of the Spinal Elements Which Contribute to, and the Rehabilitation of, Osteoporotic Vertebral Fractures and Hyperkyphosis [Powerpoint slides]. Osteoporosis Canada.

Retrieved from

References: Agur, Anne M. R., and Arthur F. Dalley. 2016. Grant's Atlas of Anatomy. 14th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer. Imagama, Shiro, Yukiharu Hasegawa, Norimitsu Wakao, Kenichi Hirano, Akio Muramoto, Naoki Ishiguro. “Impact of spinal alignment and back muscle strength on shoulder range of motion in middle-aged and elderly people in a prospective cohort study.” European Spine Journal 23 (2014): 1414–1419. 10.1007/s00586-014-3251-9. Kanlayanaphotporn, Rotsalai. “Changes in sitting posture affect shoulder range of motion.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 18, no. 2 (April 2014): 239-43. 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.09.008. Malmström, Eva-Maj, Joakim Olsson, Johan Baldetorp, Per-Anders Fransson. “A slouched body posture decreases arm mobility and changes muscle recruitment in the neck and shoulder region.” European Journal of Applied Physiology 115, no. 12 (Dec 2015): 2491-503. Moore, Keith L., Anne M.R. Agur, and Arthur F. Dalley. 2014. Essential Clinical Anatomy. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer. PDF.


AMY CAO 2019