shoulder pain

October 29, 2017

Do you have or ever had that persistent nagging or occasional twinging pain in your shoulder that seems like it just won’t go away? This pain can be in the front or top of the shoulder or near the shoulder blade.

Often times it can be a referral pain from chest or upper back (lats) muscle tightness.

Sitting hunkered over a computer, doing lots of driving, your sleeping position or simply having chronic bad posture could be the root of the pain pattern.

Massage therapy would be a great combination with the stretches below. A massage therapist can warm these muscles up followed by a stretch. This can put your muscles in the ready position to be stretched/lengthened as you begin this stretching program for 6 weeks. Remember that Energy Fitness has Mae Jensen, LMT (licensed massage therapist) and she can do KT taping as well to help alleviate pain and tightness. Just be consistent whatever you do and be mindful of your posture.

Try the 5 stretches below 1-2 times per day
hold each one for 20-60 seconds or longer if helpful.

Breathing is key for these stretches as you want to open up the diaphragm and help the ribs go wide when breathing as well as being sure to exhale all your air so the ribs under the chest don’t stay in the “flared upwards” position.


This stretch addresses the biceps and the position of the arm in the shoulder socket.

with our without ball
with our without yoga block

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Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

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November 16, 2016

We have a team of professionals we call  “Energy Fitness Endorsed Providers” in our bag of tricks to help our clients feel their best. As a personal trainer in Memphis,TN and owner of Energy Fitness since 2002 we have gathered a few favorite professionals we like to refer out who are outside our scope of fitness and nutrition knowledge.

This article/blog post is featuring of our Endorsed Providers in the area of Physical Therapy. I spoke with Dr. Shannon Hughes about injuries we have seen on the rise with the neck and shoulder leading me to believe it’s all this texting. Sometimes our clients or people I meet are in a chronic state of pain or have pre-existing injuries that come to the surface as they add more movement and exercise to weekly lifestyle and need a physical therapist such at Dr. Hughes.

We have all seen them. Crowds of folks waiting in line at the bank or at the local grocery store. All looking down at their phones: playing games, texting friends, answering emails. We don’t think anything about it; it has become the typical stance that we associate with waiting! Does the picture below look familiar to how you view your smart device?

We asked Dr. Hughes to write the below article on Text Neck & she mentions how a personal trainer can help you strengthen & stretch the muscles involved in posture. Be sure to see the end of the article where I include pictures of helpful stretches.

Energy Fitness Endorsed Provider Info/Qualifications

Dr. Shannon Hughes is highly educated and well versed in her field. Here’s what’s behind her name: Physical Therapistshannon-hughes-headshot, DPT, MTC, Orthopedic Certified Specialist, Asst. Professor, College of Health Professions University of Tennessee Health Science Center-Department of Physical Therapy. She helped me work through a SI Joint injury as well as median and ulnar nerve pain so I know she knows her trade. shannonhughesphysicalt-biz-card



Well, we are now waiting on neck and upper back pain from this atypical posture! Last year Dr. Hansraj published an article in the journal, “Neuro and Spine Surgery,” concerning the increased loads we are placing on our necks from assuming the “Text Neck” posture. In good posture our head weighs about 10-12 pounds. When we slump, looking down with our whole neck and upper back, we create an almost 90 degree angle in our spine. In this position, the head creates a compressive force 6x greater than normal.

This increase in force not only increases the compressive load on the joints of the neck and upper back, which can cause early degeneration and arthritis, but it also over stretches the muscles in the back of neck and shoulders, and shortens the muscles in the front of the chest and shoulder. All leading to a pain cycle easily broken by paying attention to the messages your body sends.

To break this cycle, be aware of your posture. Pulling shoulder blades back and together, and pulling your chin back while keeping eyes level with horizon is a good starting point for good posture. Roll your shoulders and turn head and neck to maintain good range of motion and blood flow during breaks from device use. Avoid prolonged periods of time spent looking down at your phone/tablet/e-reader/laptop. You can bring your arms up or rest your arms so that the device is in line with your eyes.

A personal trainer can help with advanced postural stretching and strengthening exercises as well as advice related to overall strengthening and flexibility. If you continue to have problems and pain, seek medical attention; a great place to start is a physical therapist. As the movement experts, they can evaluate and treat postural issues related to “Text Neck”. In Tennessee, you can have an evaluation for your issues from a licensed physical therapist without a doctor’s referral.

Helpful Stretches for Kicking Text Next to the Curb!

Do the below stretches 2-3 times a day or more depending on how much you are hunkered over your device. When you first begin you may want to and really only be able to cope with holding each stretch for 30 seconds. You may find that you can tolerate the mild to moderate pain of the stretch more often but shorter periods of time like the 30 seconds. As you become more aware of your head and neck position you will likely need less frequent stretch breaks and may opt for stretching longer like 60 seconds and be able to decrease or eliminate aches or pain within a week or two.

You may want to evaluate your sleeping position habits and pillow as well.








The above stretches stretch your scalene muscles which run along the sides of your neck.  If stretching isn’t offering enough relief or you find difficult to do you can manually and gently use your fingertips to lengthen the muscles or schedule a massage with Energy Fitness Endorsed Provider Mae Jensen with Greenchi Massage 256-454-2297, (mention this blog post/article and get a little bag of epsom salt and advice of how to use).






This stretch is great for opening up the chest muscles that become tight when doing the Text neck forward head and rounded shoulders position.

upper-body-ball-backbend-for-abs-chest-and-shoulders If you have a stability ball this is a great combo move to get both the chest and the scalene muscles. If you need to move further down the ball and place your head, neck and shoulders on the ball for a more comfortable position then work within your limits.

Happy Stretching and Better Texting Posture and awareness.

Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, FLT Metagenics
Owner/Dir. of Training
Energy Fitness 901-466-6242
552 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103

Not a client and want a Free Fitness or Nutrition Consult (value $87) or

interested in our Personal Training Services click here or call us 901-466-6242.

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.


September 5, 2016

How many of you have had or currently have achy shoulder(s) or know someone that has experienced this? As an exercise scientist & athlete I don’t accept lasting pain for myself or others. During personal training sessions at Energy Fitness with our clients I often refer to an app on my phone called trigger points to help clients find the origin that the pain is referring from to help alleviate pain.  When you feel pain in one part of your body it is most often a referral pain from another part of the body.  Example: You wrists hurt as your job requires that you type often on a computer. It’s most likely your forearm muscles that are overworked or tight. Since this blog post is about shoulder pain, I must tell you that the stretch below is my all time favorite stretch for the shoulder area for that burning ache from rotator cuff that just won’t ease up. Our current lifestyle of being hunched over desks, work stations, cell phones, smart tablets, holding the steering wheel, carrying heavy purses, and backpacks, sleeping on your side(s), or just holding your arms in the crossed position, etc.. makes our shoulders rotate out of proper anatomical position.

stretching my poor posture against gridstretching my imitation of anatomical position against grid

See pictures to the left for proper anatomical position? Stand in front of a mirror and place your hands down by your sides comfortably. Where are your arms and specifically your palms facing?  Are your palms touching the front of your body near your thighs? If you answered yes, then you may be likely to suffer from poor posture, shoulder pain and possibly tight chest and bicep or triceps muscles. Chances are you could use posture improvement. I always struggle with improving my posture as several sports I perform on a regular basis work against my posture such as running, swimming, cycling, and kayaking as well as some desk sitting.

Some occupations such as dental hygienists develop chronic pain in which they just learn to accept as normal.  No pain should be just accepted as it’s your body communicating with you to do something to counter the movement with a body aligning stretch or exercise.

See stretch  below to see how you can get almost immediate relief for shoulder pain. I originally did this stretch in bed and held for about 5 minutes.  As you can see my face is facing the same direction as the arm I am stretching, however you can turn your head in the other direction if you also want to stretch the muscles in your neck. I must tell you that at first this stretch does not feel great if it’s really tight. My advice to you is to hold the position in picture on the left for 2 or 3 minutes then progress to picture on the right and hold additional 2 minutes or longer if you have the time.  Try doing both arms at the same time, it’s a little intense especially if you put your chin on the floor so you are also stretching the scalene muscles (neck muscles along the sides or your neck). What’s the difference between the pictures? The picture on the right shows pushing the elbow closer to the floor which is a little more intense. Try to avoid rounding the shoulder to the floor.

Here’s motivation for you to continue everyday or at least every other day.

Fact:  It takes 3 minutes every day for 6 weeks stretching for a muscle to physiology lengthen. How can you remember to do it once it stops the chronic pain? Place a note on your toothbrush so you can see before bed or in the morning, put a note on the mirror, in your closet, set your phone to alert you, what ever your method just make time for it everyday.

stretch shoulder external rotation pic 1 stretch shoulder external rotation pic 2

Pic 1 on left) Arm External Rotation stretch

Pic 2) Arm External Rotation stretch (elbow down more)






Below is an extra stretch you may want to do to compliment the stretch above.


Door chest stretch – try holding for 3 minutes
Try counting to 90 twice and visualize the muscles lengthening.

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Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

September 24, 2014

lauren ready with camera

Neck & shoulder pain goodbye. Hello strong core! Lauren, a local Memphis WMC TV news reporter & Energy Fitness client starting talking about her awesome functional results that help her perform her job well. She was filming me for the GetRiverFit Grizzlies River Fitness trail in Tom Lee Park carrying this awkward tripod and camera. I commented on her great posture & biomechanics so we paused to capture her success story to motivate and inspire you.

If you want to be free from neck and shoulder pain like Lauren or just get toned and feeling better give us a call for a FREE Consult (Value $87) at 901-466-6242 or click here to register.

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.