This Is 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.


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

  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.

Originally published in Alexandria Stylebook: