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Pectoralis major is the largest and most powerful muscle on the front of your torso. Because it has three different fiber directions, Pectoralis major is responsible for a lot of different movements including bring your arms tightly to the side of your body, lifting your arm out in front of your body, rotating your arm toward your body, elevating the chest during an exaggerated inhale, and even helping to extend the arm behind you.
Tension in the pectoralis major is often brought on by chronic rounded shoulder posture (shortening the muscle) usually from poor body mechanics while working on a computer or at a desk, on a smartphone, or just slouching in general. Activities requiring you to hold heavy objects out in front of your body can also create tension and TrPs, and so too can high levels of stress and anxiety.
According to Travell and Simons, hypertonicity in this muscle can create myofascial trigger points (TrPs) that can radiate pain sensation in the front of the chest and shoulder, deep under the collar bone, and down along the front and back of the thumb side of the arm.
The Pectoralis Minor muscle helps you separate your shoulder blades, pull your shoulder blades down your back, rotate your shoulder blade downward like when you lift your chest up, and helps to lift the chest up during a forced inhale.
The Pectoralis minor is located underneath the pectoralis major where it connects your shoulder blade to the front of your ribcage. It is also located directly above the brachial plexus and axillary artery. Travell and Simon’s explains, chronic shortened fibers can lead to myofascial trigger points (TrPs) that can radiate pain sensation from the chest and front shoulder, and down the pinkie finger side of your arm. If left unresolved, it can also lead to numbness and tingling in that portion of the arm.
The good news is that regular bodywork from a trained professional coupled with consistent at-home self stretching can help ease pain and/or tension in these muscles.