A pectoralis minor that harbors trigger points may be, among others, responsible for pain at the front of your shoulder and your chest.
Although it is the little brother of the pectoralis major, it has a different function as you will learn soon.
When your pectoralis minor contains trigger points, it can give you pain right at the location of these spots and send it to other, seemingly unrelated areas of your body.
The main pain zone of the pec. minor is the front of your shoulder, but you might also experience a radiating pain into your chest and all the way down your inner arm.
Furthermore, it is possible that this muscle creates pain in your palm – not shown in the picture – and in your 3rd to 5th finger.
The pectoralis can cause the following pains
The darker the red in the picture below, the more common it is to experience pain in the respective area when trigger points are present in your pectoralis minor.
One of the functions of the pectoralis is to pull the shoulder blade forward, downward and inward.
So what might happen if it is super tight or contains trigger points and you spread your arm to the side and bring it backwards?
Surely, the movement will be limited or even painful because the shoulder blade moves a little upwards and then backwards, and thus pulls on the pectoralis minor.
It has to elongate and if it cannot or “does not want to” – because the stretch will put even more tension on the tight muscle – it will give you pain.
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When this muscles contracts, it pulls the shoulder blade downward, forward and inward towards the ribs.
Furthermore it helps to stabilize the shoulder. It prevents the shoulder blade from being pushed backwards – while walking on crutches for example – .
Paradoxical breathing – mainly chest breathing– and poor posture – rounded shoulders – lead to overuse of this muscle.
In the first case it permanently has to perform work it was not designed for, and in the second case its fibers get shortened over a long period of time.
This tightens up the muscle.
On the other hand if the has to work muscle works hard – stabilizing the shoulder while walking on crutches or while doing lots of pushups – it is prone to develop trigger points, especially if you are not used to this kind of work.
The pec. minor lies under the pec. major, so you will have a hard time feeling it.
But as you can massage it anyway with the right instructions, we will not bother with that.
Still, its good to have an idea where it is located, which is why I will show you how to palpate its origin.
You can massage the pectoralis with the Trigger Fairy, a massage ball or with your fingers.
Massaging it with the Trigger Fairy or a ball saves your hands from unnecessary strain.
With the Fairy you can work the muscle while sitting and make use of its small head to really get on to the tiny knots in the muscle.
With a ball you can exert a lot of pressure, which sometimes is needed to release the muscle.
Still, you need a blank space at a wall and have to do some “massage gymnastics” in order to get the ball on the muscle.
Last but not least there are your hands – brilliant and precise, yet delicate massage tools.
As always, I recommend saving them whenever possible and using other tools for massage.
Most of you just don´t have strong enough hands to withstand the stress of massage over time.
Still, I will show you all three possibilities.
Note: For massage, inspect the 5 – 8 centimetres below your coracoid process.
I recommend holding the Trigger Fairy with one or two hands and to really relax the shoulder at the side of your body that you are massasing.
Now you can choose between precise massage strokes and the pressure-motion technique.
With the massage ball you will work exactly the same area as with the Fairy.
You can also use the same massage techniques.
That means you can roll the ball over the muscle, or you can pressurize the muscle and then make it move by moving your shoulder and arm, respectively.
Precise massage strokes
Last but not least there is the possibility to massage the muscle with your hands.
Now inspect the area below and search for tight and tender muscle tissue.
To do so, form your hand like a shovel and pressurize the tissue with your finger tips
Massage each point with slow and short massage strokes.