Stretch Your Chest-Help Your Back Pain

Andrew de BruynAug 22, 2009 | edited Aug 22, 2009 - by @AndrewdeBruyn

Many of us experience pain in the neck and shoulder muscles. Sometimes tight chest muscles can cause shoulder pain. How can this be?

The pectoral muscles make up most of the muscles you see in a man's chest and they lie beneath a woman's breasts. The pectoralis major muscles are attached to the breastbone (the sternum), the shoulder bone (the clavicle) and run across the breadth of the ribcage, down to the six or seventh rib. They end in a tendon which is attached to the upper arm (the humerus). Our arms are drawn toward the middle of the body (adducted) by the pectorals. Put your left hand on your right chest,if you're a man or feel under your breast, if you're a woman. Move your right arm towards the middle of the body. You can feel the muscle working.

The humerus or upper arm's rotation is also caused by the pectoral muscles. Place your hand on your right chest, sit down and place your right elbow on a table. Move your right hand towards the table, like you're arm wrestling. You will feel the pectoral muscles engage. Underneath the pectoralis major muscles lies the pectoralis minor. These muscles are attached to the third, fourth and fifth ribs on the bottom end. At the top end is a tendon that is connected to the shoulder blade (scapula). These muscles act to move the scapula downward.

You're probably wondering, “What does this have to do with neck or shoulder pain?” If not stretched often,your pectorals will probably be tight and pull on the shoulder blade. This pulling action on your shoulders will distort posture and cause neck and shoulder pain.

This is a simple chest stretch. Stand next to a wall. Lift up right arm, and bend it at the elbow, so that it forms a right angle. Place your forearm and flat hand against the wall. Lean your body weight slightly forward, making your chest move slightly forward. You will feel a stretch along the right chest. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch on the left side. [I:https://imarketingbiz.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/AndrewdeBruyn9.jpg]

Some guidelines for stretching: Breathe. Don't hold your breath. Holding your breath can raise your blood pressure, if you do suffer from high blood pressure. In any event, it makes you more tense. The deeper you breathe, the more relaxed you are, the deeper and longer you will be able to stretch. Never force a stretch beyond the point of mild discomfort. Stretching tight muscles will be uncomfortable, but you should never feel any sharp or sudden pain. If you do, stop immediately-you are pushing yourself too far. Stretch the muscle at less of an angle eg in this exercise, don't pull the arm back as much. Be consistent. Stretching for a few minutes each day will gradually build flexibility and range of motion. This is far preferable to stretching only once a week for a longer time. Wear loose comfortable clothing. It's obviously very difficult to stretch if your clothes are tight and restrict movement. Time yourself and try to increase your time in each stretch by a few seconds each week. Start with 10-15 seconds and extend this by 5 seconds each week until you can hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds.

About the Author:
Andrew de Bruyn@AndrewdeBruyn+ Follow
DebT Author Jul 19, 2010

I did this same stretching a few years ago and I can attest to the fact that it helped relieve the back pain I was experiencing at the time. Thanks for the reminder.

edited Jul 19, 2010 - by @DebT28335
Andrew de Bruyn+ Follow
joinedJul 31, 2021

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