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Why do my shoulders hurt?

Ever heard of the phrase “Weight of the world on your shoulders”?


This old saying doesn’t just come from nowhere, there is much to consider here when we say these phrases and really feel the truth behind such expressions.

The number 1 reason my clients come to see me is painful, tight shoulders. More specifically the Upper Trapezius which is located on the very top of the shoulders extending from the base of the skull down the neck. The level of tension I see day in and day out on different bodies is abundant and it is mostly due to nervous tension. The tension often extends further down into the mid and lower traps between the scapula (our wings) as well as through the chest muscles Pectoralis Minor and upper Pectoralis Major. Almost like they are wearing this energetic chest plate of armour ready for battle every day.

Along with nervous tension, there is how we move through the day with our day-to-day jobs putting our body into positions that make our chest muscles tighten, rolling our shoulders forward, and raising our shoulders towards our ears as the upper traps shorten with contraction.

It’s a clear indication of our body assuming the position of shutdown and protection. It’s a hardening to our outside world shutting down our tenderness, delicateness, and multidimensionality because we are in constant reaction to the world. Many times, it’s an indicator of being over-responsible. Hence the term ‘the weight of the world on your shoulders’, what and who are we being responsible for when it is not our responsibility to take on? The problem is when we are over-responsible in one area we are being under or irresponsible in another. The body communicates this so very well. When one muscle is in a constant state of contraction (over-responsible) that means that other muscles are being overstretched causing them to weaken (under-responsible).

When you have a massage with the awareness of these things it’s an opportunity to truly feel just how much of a chest plate or suit of armour, you are wearing to protect you from the daily onslaught. The number of male clients that feel just how much contraction they carry through the upper chest is truly astounding. Males in particular carry this energetic chest plate because the upper chest where it meets the shoulder joint naturally emanates our tenderness and delicateness, something of which men are rarely allowed to live and express. Many of my male clients find this area to be quite painful to be massaged even with the gentlest touch. However, I am finding more and more women are experiencing the same thing. The hardness in their chest and shoulders as they too are living in a world that is asking them to live like men.


While every client is different in their issue and expression of that issue, the body remains the same the body doesn’t complicate anything it just says “Hey, you are running in nervous tension, you are shutting down your tenderness, you are denying your multidimensionality which means I have to now carry around the weight of this energetic chest plate which makes these parts of my body contract and stay in that position…stop it!”

This is your body calling you back. Are you responding to the call? But where to start? There are many ways that you can respond to your body’s call. To relieve the physical pain and tension in the shoulders regular massage certainly assists with the maintenance and management of this. But it’s also important to bring to awareness what it is you are shouldering a lot of responsibility of. Can some of that responsibility be shared with others? Ponder why you take on too much. This can be quite exposing and can be somewhat confronting. If it is a way that you have always lived it can be a little difficult to renounce those patterns. Ultimately to relieve the tension in the body then it’s important to address it from many angles by understanding why the pain is there and addressing it from the source. Then by doing this you are on the path of living a more vital

, pain-free life.

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