Sternalis: Pain & Trigger Points

The sternalis muscle is not existent in every human.

Approximately 5% of us have one.

The muscle can trigger pain on the chest and refer it to the shoulder and arm.

1. Pain Patterns & Symptoms

1.1 Pain patterns

If this muscle contains a trigger point, it can cause chest pain and radiating pain into the upper and inner arm.

Hence, it might contribute to your arm pain.

Here you will find the instructions on how to relieve upper arm pain.

1.2 Symptoms, complaints & impaired movements

Beside the pains described above, which often “feel deep” or have the quality of a sore muscle, the muscle does not impair any movements.

2. Attachment Points

When present, the muscle can be located at one or at both sides of your sternum/chest bone.

Still, even its exact attachment points are variable.

But generally, it is located superficially to the pectoralis major – your big chest muscle – and runs parallel to the chest bone.

3. Function

There is no function that can be attributed to this muscle.

4. Trigger Point Activation in the Sternalis Muscle

As the muscle has no function, there are no activities that are known to overwork the sternalis.

But it is known that it may develop trigger points with acute angina pectoris or myocardial infarction.

Muscles that then might also be affected, are the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.

5. Palpation & Self-massage

A good way to massage this muscle is using a massage ball against a wall.

  • Place the ball on your chest, right next to your sternum and chest bone, respectively.
  • Bend your knees and lean against a wall.
  • Now slowly roll up and down and search for painful spots.
  • Massage each of them with a couple of slow massage strokes.


  • Calais-German, Blandine. Anatomy of Movement. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993. Print
  • Davies, Clair, and Davies, Amber. The Trigger Point Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide For Pain Relief. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Print
  • Simons, David G., Lois S. Simons, and Janet G. Travell. Travell & Simons’ Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1999. Print.
  • Schünke, Michael., Schulte, Erik, and Schumacher, Udo. Prometheus: Lernatlas der Anatomie. Stuttgart/New York: Georg Thieme Verlag, 2007. Print