Top Reason for Shoulder Pain

The rotator cuff is fairly intricate, but you don’t need to traumatically do something to it in order to start feeling pain.

Mechanisms of injury include gardening, yardwork, and even playing pass with your kids. A lot of the time it’s more wear and tear over time that causes shoulder pain. In fact, the number one culprit of shoulder pain that I most often see is…wait for it…poor posture.

When our backs and shoulders tend to be a little more rounded forward it really closes down around the area where the rotator cuff attaches up into the shoulder. The muscles and tendons are coming in from the back, top, and front of the shoulder and shoulder blade and attaching to the front of the shoulder joint. So with bad posture, as your arms are rounded forward, if you try to move those arms overhead it pinches on the tendons and over time causes inflammation. That also leads to weakness in that area, which then leads to poor mechanics in the shoulder joint itself. Then the cycle of more impingement and more inflammation continues.

Signs You Need to go to PT

  • If you are doing something simple like reaching into the cupboard and consistently notice some pain.
  • Pain when tucking in a shirt or putting on a belt.
  • For women, pain in the shoulder and arm when fastening a bra behind your back.
  • If laying in the same position for a while brings pain or soreness that does not go away.

3 Ways to Avoid Shoulder Pain

  • Avoid slouching. Shoulder blade depressions help counteract slouching. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and back in a very small motion. I often tell my patients it’s like putting your shoulder blades in your back pocket. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5-10 times.
  • Doorway stretch. Put your arms at shoulder level on either side of a doorway and step slightly through the doorway to feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.

Doorway Stretch

  • 4 way shoulder exercise with lighter weights and higher reps. Bring arms up and forward, then up and out to the side, then at your side keeping the elbow tucked in pulling away from your body, and the keeping the elbows at your side pull in to your body.


If you have been experiencing shoulder pain give us a call to schedule your free pain consultation.

Phil Finemore

By Phil Finemore, PT, DPT

Back in Motion Physical Therapy – South Portland, Maine

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