Tight Pec Min? Try This Pectoralis Muscle Stretch
The pectoralis minor is a small but very strong anterior shoulder muscle. It runs from the coracoid process at the front of the shoulder and attaches into the ribs. Because of its location, it is very commonly shortened and tightened with rounded shoulder posture, shoulder injuries, breathing problems and a variety of other compensation patterns. Regularly doing a pectoralis muscle stretch can release tightness and avoid related problems in the shoulder area.
Tight Pectoral Muscles Symptoms
The following symptoms may indicate a tight or injured pec min, which can be released with regular pectoralis muscle stretching or a visit to the chiropractor.
Anterior Shoulder Pain
Another complaint associated with pec min tightness is long head biceps tendonitis. The long head tendon of the biceps sits at the front of the shoulder and acts as an external shoulder rotator. A common complaint is the tight pec min pulls the long head of the biceps medially causing the biceps tendon to hit against the bony grove it sits in. This creates a lot of irritation at the biceps and can cause long head bicep tendonitis, which is a very painful and often misdiagnosed shoulder condition.
Pain or Numbness in the Inner Arm, Wrist and Hand
The pec min sits over the top of the brachial plexus, so tightness in this muscle can contribute to a syndrome called TOS or thoracic outlet syndrome which can lead to numbness and tingling into the arm and hand.
Rounded Shoulder Posture
A common sign of pec min tightness is the typical rounded forward shoulder and head posture we now associate with ‘tech neck’. This posture will cause the pec min to tighten and shorten which can start to lead to other larger posture stabilising muscles such as the lats and mid traps to switch off. This type of muscle imbalance further perpetuates the pec min tightness as the body becomes reliant on the pec for shoulder and thoracic spine stability.
Other symptoms of a tight pec minor may include:
- Chest pain
- Pain in between the shoulder blades
- Trouble reaching forward and up
How A Pectoralis Muscle Stretch Can Help
Because of the pec’s size, location and its ability to have an effect on a variety of shoulder complaints, it is important to keep this muscle loose and working well. Frequent pec min stretching is extremely important for healthy shoulders and posture.
My favourite pec stretch is to lie over a swiss ball or the edge of a bed and let your arms drop away like a starfish (See image). This is an excellent stretch for releasing the pec min and assisting with resetting your posture. Variations of this pectoralis muscle stretch can also be done using a doorway or a towel.
Want to find out more about improving your posture? Check out these blogs:
- Posture Tips: The 3 Ps
- Ergonomics at Home: Improve Your WFH Posture
- Improve Spine Health: 4 Tips to Look After Your Spine
Contact Dr Miki to Release Tight Pec Minor Muscles
If you have any concerns about your pec minor or believe that it may be contributing to a shoulder or posture complaint, I would love to help you out. At my clinic I frequently work on pec min issues and have a variety of treatment techniques to get great results. I can also advise of some more great pectoralis muscle stretches you can complete at home. Please contact my Brisbane CBD chiropractic clinic for more information or see online for appointment times.