It’s time for another Muscle Monday! Today’s special guest is… Pectoralis Minor (pec minor for short).
This tiny muscle runs from the scapula to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th ribs, and lies underneath and bigger, broader Pectoralis Major muscles.
This is another muscle that gets cranky with (you guessed it) a lot of computer work, or any repetitive activity that requires our arms to be out in front (causing rounding of the shoulders) and our head craning forward (like driving). Doing this causes the muscle to become short and tight (a.k.a. pissed off!).
And, like our friend from last week (Levator Scapula), the Pec Minors are great helpers. They love to pick up the slack for such muscles as the lats, middle trapezius, nearby shoulder and arm muscles, and even the psoas (a deep core muscle).
Lastly, I often forget to think about pec minor when it comes to breathing. Hello! They’re attached to the ribs, and the ribs move when we breath. If you’re a chronic “chest breather,” pec minor can become overactive.
The long and the short of it is the pec minors can become overactive/facilitated for many different reasons, and are chronically tight and shortened for many due to postural habits.
What to do? Direct manual release can help via massage and such. Stretching. Strengthening of the related underactive muscles. Movement re-education. And of course, get up and move! Take breaks from your desk or during long drives or long flights.
I hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions!