Pectoralis Major Pain –
The pectoralis muscle is one that everyone can identify. People can picture a body builder on the beach with huge pec muscles. We can identify with its size and strength. Atlas doesn’t lift or carry rocks with small pec muscles. As with any muscles these can become injured with trauma or repetitive use.
Massage therapy can be used as a treatment for decrease the spasms and pain. Acute trauma can occur with lifting large boulders in the World’s Strongest man competitions. It can also be injured in people with poor posture. People with rounded shoulders shorten the muscle and reduce its flexibility over time. When this muscle goes into spasm it pulls the shoulders forward. People often find themselves trying to stretch their arms or shoulders backwards to produce a comfortable stretch.
Reduced flexibility in any muscle contributes to its likelihood of future injuries during activity. It becomes easier to hurt this muscle with normal daily activities, sports, house work, or yard work. Pec Major muscle spasms increases the likelihood of chronic neck or upper back pain.
Pectoralis Major Muscle Pain
The pectoralis major muscle is a large fan shaped muscle running from the clavicle, sternum, first 7 ribs, and upper abdominal muscles to the upper humerus. It is a very large and powerful muscle. Most of us think of it when we think of chest muscles. It is involved in most arm lifting, pulling, or carrying movements.
Because of its strength and position, pectoralis major spasms pull the arms and shoulders forward. When the pec major contracts it pulls the arms forward, in a sitting posture this rounds the shoulders. People with rounded shoulders are more likely to experience chronic or acute shoulder sprains, including supraspinatus tendinosis or rotator cuff sprains.
Pectoralis major muscle spasms can lead to trigger points developing in the muscle. Trigger points are areas of muscle that have been injured to the degree that it radiates pain to other areas. Mild muscle injuries hurt at the location of the injury only. Trigger points can radiate a few inches. Aggravated trigger points radiate pain several inches or feet away, including down the hand. Trigger points in the pectoralis major muscle radiates from the chest, to the shoulder, and even down to the elbow. At its worst, pain can be felt in the 3rd and 4th fingers of the hand.
The pain originally begins as stiffness and mild soreness in the chest. An increased dull ache or burning may develop as the muscle becomes more injured, and eventually leading to a deep throbbing ache across the shoulder or down the arm. The pain is relieved by resting, icing, or stretching.
As mentioned earlier, pectoralis major muscle spasms create pain and injuries in the neck, shoulders, and back by changing the shoulder position. The pectoralis muscle should be evaluated and addressed in someone complaining of neck, shoulder, or back pain.
Treatment of Pectoralis Muscle Pain
Massage therapy works to decrease the pectoralis muscle spasms and pain. This will increase the flexibility and integrity of the muscle, which will decrease frequency, duration, and intensity of pain in the neck, back, and shoulder frequency.
Massage therapy works to decrease muscle spasm, tenderness, and referral pain. It brings more blood to the area and reduces edema around the muscle. It helps to increase muscle flexibility and range of motion. People often report feeling their shoulders move backwards and posture improve within a few weeks. When a trigger point is present, the massage therapist may cause radiating pain down the shoulder and arm every time the knot is worked.
When pectoralis muscle spasms are associated with neck pain or headaches, treatment helps decrease the intensity and frequency of pain within a few visits. Many people feel better during the day with their improved posture. Their neck and shoulder range of motion is maintained throughout the day, and they feel better sitting with proper posture. Headaches will become less frequent.
Stretching the pectoralis muscle is very helpful to enhance treatment. Stretching at home speeds your recovery and decreases the chest, shoulder, and neck pain. It improves flexibility and reduces that likelihood of developing future shoulder injuries.
If you feel like your pectoralis muscle trigger points are contributing to your headaches, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, chest, or arm pain consider massage therapy for your treatment. Please look for a skilled and trained therapist who frequently treats people with complex and intertwined muscular problems.