Pectoralis Minor

Certain muscles, despite their relative small size, cause a lot of issues in the body.

The Pectoralis Minor is one such muscle. It can produce a hailstorm of problems especially in the shoulders, neck, arms, wrists, and for breathing.

Pec Minor lies deep under the much bigger and thicker Pec Major (see the image).  Its role is to stabilize the shoulder joint, along with other muscles. From the image, we can see that it originates on the anterior ribs (rib 3, 4, and 5) and inserts near the shoulder joint on a bony protrusion called the Coracoid Process.

This Coracoid Process is part of the same bone as your Scapula (shoulder blade). This means that when Pec Minor contracts, it pulls the Scapula down and closer to the body. People with "stuck" or "winging" Scapulas typically have a very tight Pec Minor. 

What's wrong with having a tight Pec Minor? 

  • Restriction in blood flow occurs because a portion of the Axillary artery lies under the Pec Minor. 
  • Tingling and numbness in the arm, wrist, and fingers can also result from tight Pec Minor because a portion of the Brachial Nerve plexus passes under the Coracoid Process and underneath Pec Minor.
  • Scapular mobility and shoulder joint mobility are compromised. 

How to make it better?

  1. Deep Tissue, Trigger Point Massage, and Neuromuscular Therapy are effective ways to release a tight Pec Minor and restore its proper function. Pec Minor contains several trigger points which chronically shorten the muscle. Usually these trigger points are located right below the Coracoid Process in the belly of the muscle, and you may even be able to find them on yourself. Releasing those trigger points with massage is very effective at freeing up mobility in the shoulder. 
  2. Stretching Pec Minor on a regular basis. See examples below.
  3. Strengthening the shoulder muscles with balanced exercises like yoga, intelligent personal training, and physical therapy so the Pec Minor tension does not become chronic and overpower other shoulder stabilizers like the Rotator Cuff muscles, Trapezius, Rhomboids, and Deltoids. 

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