Home » Self-Care – Pain in the Front of Shoulder when Reaching to the Side

Self-Care – Pain in the Front of Shoulder when Reaching to the Side

This is a problem in the clavicular division of the pectoralis major muscle, which is in the chest, just beside the shoulder that hurts.

Change your activities:

First, try to correct the perpetuating activity of wearing a backpack. Often, that is not possible as it is a part of the activities of daily living. Also, avoid activities that might aggravate this like quickly reaching to the back seat of the car or down to the drawer of the nightstand.


For temporary relief:

Mid-sized IcyHot patches work well in the short term. Topical creams tend to produce a bothersome scent that will make your eyes water. This rubs a little under clothing and the IcyHot Patches stay on a little better than Salonpas.

It will be more effective if you put it along the middle of the muscle as shown in this illustration. Place it a little more on your upper chest than on the shoulder where it hurts.

They’re available on Amazon.

For longer-lasting results:

These doorway stretches are easy, convenient and effective.

Even though the shoulder hurts when raising the arm, Start with and focus on the stretch with the elbow below the shoulder. It does a better job of opening up this muscle. Progress to the upper positions after this is more mobile.

Pay a little more attention to that back shoulder in the warrior pose. IT is usually the one that lags behind because it feels like the same amount of stretch when it isn’t quite level. This gal does a great job of getting it level and behind her body.

Chest openers like Camel Pose pull the elbow away from the collar bone in a way that stretches the clavicular pec over the ribs.

Sometimes. this is stubborn and needs bodywork, especially around the joints of the shoulder and in the lower neck. Don’t hesitate to see your bodyworker for better results.

Does another Self-Care post
better match your pain?

Here is the post about the trigger point pattern associated with these Self-Care activities.

A number of muscles refer to this same area. Look at these posts on pain in the front of the shoulder.



This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We appreciate your input and feedback. You will see us adding posts and updating older posts as time permits.


Weekly Featured Post

Is the pain from
degenerative discs or
trigger points in the muscle?

This post discusses the differences in pain from disc problems and pain from trigger points. Who should you see to help with your pain?

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make it easier to read, more accessible, and
to include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there will be inconsistency in formatting, content, and readability until we get the old posts updated. Please excuse our mess.