Saturday, October 22, 2011

Working Your Pecs

I got up early this morning and I was stiff, but I was so tired still and didn't really want to get up and work trigger points. I decided to work my chest muscles. I could work them without too much effort, without getting out of bed, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much it helped to release the tension in other muscles as well.  

Your "pecs," or pectoralis major are your large chest muscles. They are three large bands of muscles that fan from each side just below your shoulder to the middle of your chest (p. 136, if you have the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook).  Among other things, your pectorals work with your upper back muscles to keep your posture upright. If your pecs are tight, they are putting constant pressure on those upper back muscles. They tend to pull your shoulder toward the front.  

There is a domino effect to this, which can end up sending trigger points to the sternocleidomastoids and the scalenes, muscles in your neck which can be responsible for pain and stiffness in a lot of areas. There are other chest muscles as well, and it is not necessary to differentiate them at this point. Working any of them will do some good.  

The chest muscles are more tender than the back muscles (in my experience, anyway) and it does not take much to work them. Remember that you want to "hurt good." Don't try to rub them out; you will make things worse. Just work them. You can come back every couple of hours or so if you want to.  

I use one hand with four fingers held together as the precision tool, and place my other hand on the back of the "precision tool" and push. 

Place opposite hand on back of "precision tool." 

Lying in bed is actually a great place to work these because I can place the elbow of my working hand (the hand that is pushing) on the bed, so it takes very little effort to work these.  

Top hand is the "power."  Bottom hand is the "tool."

To be more specific, lying on my right side, I use my right arm (which I am lying on), bent at the elbow, to support my left arm, which is also bent at the elbow.  The left hand has fingers held together.  Using my right hand, I press the left finger tips into the trigger points.

itch sides to use the other hand.  

Search all around your chest area.  For women, you are searching in the muscles, so you are working around and under the breast.  (The breast itself is not muscle.)  

Working the pecs and other chest muscles.
If you have never done this before, you may be shocked, alarmed, or even frightened at how many places hurt.  These are trigger points.  They hurt a lot, but working them a little bit does a lot of good.  

If you are already up and about, another way to work at least some of your chest muscles is with a lacrosse ball against a wall that is close to a corner, so that you can lean in further without being blocked by the wall. 

This was written October 1, 2011.  Extra information added October 22, 2011.

Note:  Please be patient with me as I learn how to use these publishing tools.  I have tried several times, for example, to fix the word "switch" above, but it keeps publishing the split word.  Eventually, I will figure out why it is happening and come back and fix it.  

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