This article describes the second of two ways to ease the tenderness felt in the chest area. If you want to check out the first article, go here.
Anatomy of a muscle
The pectoralis major is a large muscle located near the skin in front of the rib cage. It originates on the clavicle, the sternum, and the top of the abs. It runs across the chest to insert on the upper arm. The muscles' actions include moving the arm into horizontal adduction (arm comes across the body), internal rotation of the arm (turning the pages of a book that is on your lap), shoulder adduction (raising your arm out to your side), and flexion of the arm (raising your arm in front of you).
Causes of tightness
The pectoralis major is shortened by bad posture habits, such as hunching over or working with your arms extended in front of you. Hairdressers, massage therapists, and people who work with computers are often affected.
Symptoms of tightness
Vulture-neck posture (head juts out in front of the body)
Pain or muscle spasm between the shoulder blades
Pain across the sternum
Pressure across the chest
Tingling or numbness in the arms, especially at night
Tight pectoralis major muscles cause the arms to tingle when you are sleeping because they pull arms forward into internal rotation. This can cause shoulder impingement, which squishes all the nerves and tendons of the shoulder together between the shoulder and arm bones. When nerves get pinched, they do not like it and they respond by going numb. Releasing the pectoralis major muscle will help to relieve shoulder impingement.
Lie on the ground on your stomach
Put your arm out to the side and bend it 90 degrees
Place a lacrosse ball or softball under your chest
Find a tender spot
Roll across the ball from the sternum to your arm 5 times
Raise your arm over your head along the floor 5 times
When you are finished, there should be some improvement in the range of motion.