Looking at the pec major as a whole, is like looking at the handheld fan from a sideways position. Like the trapezius muscle, this big broad mess has three parts and all funnels itself to a funny landmark called the crest of the greater tubercule of the humerus. The top fibers drop down and attach to lowest point, the middle fibers stay straight and stay in middle and low fibers cross up.
It’s origin is like a big upside down L in the middle of your chest. The three origins include: the medial half of the clavicle, the sternum aka breastbone, and cartilage of ribs 1-6 "aka" your heart and lunge jail. All these origins cross over each other and insert into that funny crest landmark on the humerus.
All of these attachments sites dictate what the pec major does.
Referred pain from these trigger points is experienced in the chest, front of the shoulder, down the inside of the arm, and along the inside of the elbow. The trigger points in the pec major can even produce symptoms that are nearly identical to the pain associated with having a heart attack, but please always have this pain ruled out by a medical doctor. From a biomechanics standpoint, these trigger points also have an intimate connection with upper body posture, and can have far reaching effects on the muscle groups in this region. Chronic tension in the pecs perpetuates the all too common rounded shoulder. This causes the traps and rhomboids in the upper back to become overstretched and weakened.
If this is something you struggle with, contact us to get out of pain!
Remember your first day of working out, or a long weekend away at a sports camp, or being 33 and sleeping in a funky position (yeah, me too), then you know all too well how unenjoyable a sore, beaten down body can feel. Muscle cramps, muscle spasms, muscle guarding and muscle soreness are other forms of muscle injuries that our bodies can experience. Let me break these down a little more for you:
General muscle soreness is the probably the most common injury I see on the table, but very typical to be blended with spasms, cramps, and guarding. There are two types of muscle soreness: acute-onset muscle and exercise-induced muscle soreness (DOMS). Acute-muscle soreness is typically partnered with fatigue. DOMS or exercise-induced soreness usually shows face 12 hours after exercise and peaks 24-48 hours later, with inflammation.
Even though you can't prevent muscle soreness, you can manage it with regular bodywork, proper warmups and cool downs, stretching, hydration, nutrition, and the king aka SLEEP. To make massage and bodywork part of your monthly routine, please email or call today to schedule your first or next session!
As humans, it’s a fundamental trait to our survival. We adapt to our surroundings. We fall back into patterns, if just feels normal and super comfortable. That is why the time off the table is crucial to reeducate.
Sadly, it is a trait that can throat punch us. I would argue, when we become settled and comfortable we get “soft” and vulnerable. You start to see things as your are, not how the world is. PERCEPTION. This is a perfect time for injury to sneak itself in. With that being said, pain is also perception. 10/10 subjective. Hear me out, Rick Flair walks up and pops you in the face, I’d cry and you may laugh. Same external stimulus, different response.
Pain is your body’s way of begging for change! Changing how you move ultimately will change how you think 🤯 brain and body are really good friends. Pain you can’t trust, because pain is not the problem. Pain is a symptom of an issue that is causing beef with the body. Which means there is an underlying issue when pain is absent.
How can we make change?
Simply put: get out of your own way. keep it simple, it really is that easy
• get on the ground, move with your kids, sit and read
•Exercise outside: go hike, go rock climb, paddle board. Get out of the Sagittal plane
• hop to your car after work? I don’t know, you may make friends?
• stop taking the elevator, maybe walk sideways up the steps
• kneel or stand at your office desk
•squat during office meetings, again you may get some weird looks
Is your overhead range of motion or shoulder position trash? Try showing your pec minor some attention. Most folks go right after the t-spine and lats when working with soft tissue restrictions or lack of range of motion. Do these need to be addressed? Probably so, but you would be wise to not neglect a major player in overhead position and stooped posture.
The pec minor lies under the pec major, originates on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th ribs and attaches to the coracoid process of the scapula. It doesn't take up much space but it has a lot of responsibility and can cause major havoc. Th pec minor contributes to shoulder blade protraction, depression, and downward rotation of the scapula. It also tag teams with the serrates anterior to aid in forced inspiration. Whew, I'd be tired too man.
So what does this mean for you? Why is maintenance of the pec minor important.
We have established that the pec minor is closely interwoven with the condition of the scapula, ribs, and tspine and if any of these tissues get tight and short then it's going to be key getting your shoulders into stable positions. Pec minor dysfunction can present a huge problem, especially if you are sitting at a desk, cycling hours a week, or driving miles for work because now your arms have to internally rotate as a way to stabilize your shoulders to remedy your limited range. Taking this into the gym or sport where we spend time under load in these compensated positions your pec minor has to work really hard to keep your shoulder stable causing chronic tightness.
If you were to write a SOP for the elbow, the work flow would be insane. This guy is a workhorse. We rely greatly on this joint, flexing and extending is a big part of our day to day, not to include the demands in sport and in the gym. The thing with elbows is that people believe it to be a "simple" joint, that all it really does is flex and extend. There is a rotation piece that gets over looked.
Most dysfunctions tends to spread elsewhere, usually showing face in the shoulder or even down to the wrist. Now, there are many times when tissue and fascia around the elbow are the culprit, for example: tennis or golfer's elbow. Restoring and/or maintaining range of motion at this joint is crucial.
Banded Elbow Distraction:
1. Hook a band around a rig or pole, create tension by sliding your arm back.
2. Keeping your shoulder in a stable position, flex and extend your elbow
𝐂𝐔𝐏𝐏𝐈𝐍𝐆 THERAPY these are my thoughts about this recovery tool and why/how I incorporate it, as always, don’t let this be the only form of recovery
Some purposed mechanism ideas of what cupping is actually doing to the tissue, there is obviously some metabolic changes happening through suction force, creation of new blood flow to the area aka angiogenesis, evidence by the bruising circles. The cups are suctioned so that they pull on the skin and the blood, drawing it to the surface especially in areas where it doesn't typically reach all that well. Some people believe it helps to alleviate blockages of debris/adhesions in the body, as well as energy that is congested in the body.
For me, the effects of cupping have to do with the nervous systems, and modifying sensory input and perception of pain and how that translates to them performing better. When someone is experiencing pain, there are some inhibitory responses to performance in the body. If I can reduce the Pain to the area, Maybe I can help someone feel better in their sport. For some clients, they swear by it, they preach better range of motion and less tension.
How long do you leave the cups on for? Personally, I usually cut off around 10 min the reason for that, seems like most people will tend to get bruising- it isn’t necessary to have bruising, doesn’t make treatment more effective. Other things can have a role in how bad someone bruises: stagnation and tissue pathologies.
When should I get this done? for recovering and dampening of the nervous system, I would go post workout. This is def in recovery realm and be in addition to all the other boxes you should be checking: food, sleep, yoga, etc
I would have to argue, the most common restrictions we see in weightlifting mobility, and most athletes are limited ankle dorsiflexion — the ability for the knee to track forward over the toe (shoelace to shin). Not only does this effect major lifts like the barbell squat, it can also limit movements like the push press, split jerk, and even jumping exercises. Due to its position in the closed kinetic chain, limitations in ankle dorsiflexion can lead to a host of compensations upstream, including knee valgus, butt wink, and effecting torso angle in lifts.
"Yeah, I hear you Sara. I don't need to work on my ankle mobility, I just wear lifters." Tracking.
While Olympic lifting shoes do allow the ankles to perform less dorsiflexion to reach the bottom of a squat to buffer limitations in ankle mobility, but when thinking longevity, there’s no outrunning the need for full ankle mobility. I will say, investing in a great pair of shoes has a huge benefits in the sport but shouldn't be used as a crutch.
Alright then, how do I grease the ankle grooves then?
To book a session for soft tissue work, please email me NOW!
"I haven't been able to reach above head in years." "I can't put my seatbelt on or take off my bra without pain". "Both of my shoulders are so messed up, I can't even brush my hair without it hurting."
I hear complaints like this all too often. I also hate to say this but I also hear, "I tried bodywork and massage, but it didn't help." If the therapist does not have the specific skill set, odds are pretty good that massage therapy won't help much.
The subscapularis, or subscap, is a very difficult muscle to find and palpate, let's face it- I have never had a client that is just overwhelm with joy when we do subscap work, although they do love the benefits. As one client said to me "It is kind of like a sour patch kid. Sour then sweet but also feels like you shouldn't be in there." But the pain-free range of motion was appreciated after the session.
Real quick, lets break down the anatomy. The subscap is a thick muscle with a broad tendon that covers the anterior portion of the scapula and reinforces the shoulder joint. The muscle functions to stabilize, internally rotate, depress, and adduct the humerus. It's a pretty badass muscle and does a lot for the strength of our shoulder (making up about 50% of the rotator cuff strength) and joint centration. It also counteracts the powerful force of the deltoid. I could go on and on about this guy. Important trigger points to remember are across the shoulder blade, down the arm, and around the wrist (this one is often overlooked).
A lot of therapist think they are on the subscap when they are in fact palpating the fat lat or the teres major. It is an easy mistake and easy to correct, I had to learn for myself. Why is this so common? Many therapist attempt to enter the subscap far too inferiorly, which causes a roadblock by the ribcage and the lat is mistaken for the subscap. Here is my tip:
Pinpoint your location by sliding your fingers laterally to feel the lateral border of the scapula. If you are lateral to the lateral border of the scapula, you are on the lat or teres major, not subscap. This is still fantastic work, but the client could be missing out on a lot of benefits. I always think: "to palpate the subscap, my fingers must be medial to the lateral border of the scapula."
Hope this helps,
We do a lot from our phones, I bet most of you guys are reading this blog from your phone right now. Society requires a great deal of repetitive thumb use, especially from texting, swiping, and scrolling. Pair that with barbell and every other countless thing we demand from our hands, the thumbs can take a beating.
Being attached to our smart phones in this way can amplify certain inflammatory responses such as tendinitis. Your tendons are what attach the bone and muscle, when we have overuse (mhm-mhm, phone in hand activities) the inflammation sets in...welcome, tendonitis. Don't think this will only show up in the thumb itself, everything connected always. These repetitive hand motions can lead to the pain in the wrist and forearms. Small task can become super daunting and forgetting about using hook grip in a barbell piece. Tendonitis causes wrist pain, aching, numbness, and loss of strength. However, this pain can sometimes be confused with the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially when paired with swelling.
If you are having thumb, hand, or forearm pain, what can you do?
1. Put your phone down, or just be mindful of your time you spend scrolling away.
2. Book a session. This work isn't for pleasure, but your thumbs will be forever grateful.
If you really want to check where your mobility and stability deficiencies are, grab a dumbbell, lock it out overhead, and squat. For most folks, this will throw up all kind of red flags. The single arm dumbbell overhead squat (SA DB OH) is a great assesment tool to diagnose where you are as an athlete, which will in the long run help us to become better at moving. Why is this movement such a kick in the ass? In order to achieve proper position at end range of motion you must have optimal:
- Thoracic Spine Mobility, rotation/extension
- Shoulder overhead mobility and stability,flexion and external roation
-Squat mobility and stability, flexion, external and internal roation, and ankle dorsiflexion
The bottom position for most people an EXTREMELY demanding position to get into. The mobility and stability requirements are massive. If we can’t obtain optimal bottom position then we sure as hell aren't going to be stable. I would look into your squat first before we challenge the mechanics even more. Don't be ashamed to strip this down and build it back up, trust me, I was there. Once you free up new ROM, you need to use it in a controlled manner aka add weight slowly without intensity, then put it back into function (performing the actual movement).
Depending on where your challenges are, there are plenty of things you can be doing to help improve this movement:
-bottom up press
-thoracic, shoulder, and hip mobility
-counter balance squats
Getting regular bodywork and massage can help maintain range of motion and flexibility in the pursuit of better movement. In the long run, this will help mitigate injuries and keep you moving pain free. I always suggest once a month for routine maintenance.
Remember, sweat the small stuff. Devil is all in those details.