This Is Why Your Shoulder Hurts

Why Your Shoulder Hurts

This past weekend I went on an annual girls’ trip with amazing women.  We all look forward to this trip in the gorgeous Eastern Shore of Maryland where we eat, drink, laugh, and play outside.  We also share advice on everything from work relations and parenting to skincare regimens and recipes.

Throughout the weekend, at least two of my friends asked me about their shoulders. A few of the comments included: “My rotator cuff hurts” and “When I lift my arm like this my shoulder hurts, for no reason.” As we started discussing the reason behind this pain, more and more people started joining our conversation. “You should do a post on this!” they all said seemingly in unison.  These nine brilliant women came up with our new Stylebook series called:

“This is why your BLANK hurts” So welcome to the first post in the series of “This is why your BLANK hurts”  Let’s get into it!

Although shoulder pain has many causes and can present many ways, a common cause in many “unexplained” cases in women is tight pec muscles. Women tend to have tight pecs for many reasons but all stem from poor posture. When the pecs are tight (both pectoralis major and minor for our anatomy buffs) the shoulder blade (scapula) is pulled out of alignment.  This position change affects the shoulder because it is a “ball and socket joint” and the “socket” is located on the shoulder blade.

Why Your Shoulder Hurts

So when the blade is out of alignment, so is the socket. But, in order for the shoulder to work correctly, that ball and socket joint needs to maintain a proper connection!  If not, it’s “Alexandria…we have a problem.”

Well, have no fear, Mind the Mat is in the business of making connections. Follow these simple steps to stretch your pecs and you may not only prevent and reduce your shoulder pain, you will also have gorgeous posture for all of those off-shoulder fashion trends.

Door Stretch

Why Your Shoulder Hurts

  1. Find a doorway that is not too wide—standard or narrower will work fine.
  2. Line your forearms up with the door jam so that your shoulders are at a 90 degree angle.
  3. Step forward with one foot and gently lean forward, shifting your weight onto your front leg.
  4. Not too much, though! Hold a low load stretch for 20-30 seconds.
  5. Change the angles so that you repeat two more times, once with shoulders at greater than 90 degrees and once with shoulders less than 90, but keep your forearms on the door frame. This ensures you are protecting the shoulder joint.
  6. Try this pec isolating stretch every day, but make sure you are pain-free in the shoulders and neck.


  • The latest from Megan

Megan Brown, physical therapist, Pilates instructor, mother and co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga in Alexandria, VA, likes to goof around. Yet her commitment to her students and her skill set in the field is no joke. After graduating from University of Virginia with a degree in Sports Medicine, Megan went on to receive her Masters in Physical Therapy and eventually her Doctorate in the profession. Although Pilates was never part of the plan, the method changed the way she treated patients, positively re-directed her career path and enhanced her own active lifestyle. Customized Pilates instruction is her specialty–she designs classes based on clients needs: athletes, new moms, rehabilitation or just for fun (why be serious all the time?). Pilates + Yoga is the best of both worlds, hence the creation of Mind the Mat studios providing classes for all—in every walk of life.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.     

2214 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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