Self Myofascial Release of the Pecs

The pec major muscle is the large muscle that makes up the musculature of  chest. It has multiple sites of attachment; the collar bone, the sternum and the cartilage of the ribs. Interestingly enough the pect major also blends into the external oblique and sometimes the rectus abdominus. From these sites of attachments the muscle fibers cross the shoulder joint and attach onto the humerus (upper arm).

Due to the pec major having multiple sites of attachment there are several directions of movement that the pec major is involved in. It can have an effect on several joints but mostly the shoulder joint.  Pec major helps to depress the shoulder girdle, aids in flexing the shoulder, adducting the shoulder and internally rotating the shoulder. The muscle is involved in pressing exercises, push ups, cable cross overs, pull downs, and stabilizing the shoulder girdle during gymnastic ring work. 

When this muscle is a problem we often see a rounded forward posture and as a result the muscles between the shoulders blades become over worked.

When pec major is a problem you may experience chest/breast pain, shoulder pain and even pain down the medial arm.  When pain occurs on the left side it may be confused with angina pain.

So how can you help yourself?

Method of releasing the pec major

Upper portion

To stretch the upper portion of the pec major you will be extending the shoulder backwards. Place a ball over the upper portion, near the collar bone, and then extend your arm backwards behind you. Feel the stretch and hold for your desired amount of time

Middle portion

Place the ball over a tender spot in the middle portion of the pec major. With your arm out in front of you at around shoulder height move your arm out to the side.

Another way you can hit the middle portion of pec major is by placing your hand on the wall in a one handed wall push up position. Then, as you you press the ball into your chest, turn your body away from the wall.

Bottom/lateral portion

The lateral portion of pec major is the outer edge of the pec major. After placing the ball over this region reach up over head and seek out the stretch you need.

Dr Notley

Winnipeg chiropractor and athletic therapist

Self Myofascial Release of the Shoulder: Teres Major

Self Myofascial Release of the Teres Major Muscle

The teres major muscle is an important muscle that affects the shoulder and shoulder blade.  It originates near the inferior angle of the scapula (the bottom tip of the shoulder blade). It travels up through the armpit and attaches onto the humerus.  In the arm pit it runs right along side the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Activities that use this muscle

The teres major helps to adduct the arm, rotate the arm inwards and extend it backwards. It is most active when a resistance is added during these movements.  It is exercised during chin ups, pulldowns, and rowing activities. Other activities that use the teres major muscle are:

  • Wood chopping
  • Throwing a baseball
  • During the backward swing of walking/running
  • Holding the shoulder in extension (ie. reverse plank)
  • Adducting the arm behind the back
  • Pulling the steering wheel down
  • Typing with and old fashioned type writer

When this muscle is over used, beyond what it is capable of recovering from, it can become sore and refer to the back of the shoulder and down the upper arm.

How do you locate the muscle?

To locate the belly of the muscle put your hand on the back of your hand and place your opposite fingers onto the back side of the armpit. Push you hand into the back of your hand and resist.  You should feel the teres major and latissimus dorsi muscle tighten. Don’t worry which muscle it is you can treat both with the same movement.  

To locate the  attachment on the shoulder blade reach across with your opposite hand and feel the bony edge of the shoulder blade running almost vertically.  The upper two thirds of this edge is the teres minor. The lower to ⅓ is the teres major. Feel for a tender spot on the tip.  The body of the muscle is located on the back edge of the arm pit.

How to release the muscle

Place a ball onto the muscle.  To hit the belly of the muscle I prefer that you have it on the outer edge of the armpit, find a tender point and pin the muscle down.  Reach up towards the ceiling and feel added tension onto the muscle. If you externally rotate the shoulder (biceps facing backwards you will add a little more stretch to the area. 

To hit tender points near the bottom tip of the shoulder blade you’ll have to turn your body away from the wall. Perform the same movement as before.

*** Disclaimer *** This video and post is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are in pain, please visit your local health care provider or contact Dr Notley if you are in #Winnipeg

Dr Notley – Winnipeg’s only dual credentialed chiropractor and athletic therapist

Self Myofascial Release of the Rotator Cuff – Infraspinatus

About the infraspinatus

The infraspinatus muscle is one of 4 muscles that make of the  rotator cuff muscles.

The infraspinatus muscle helps with external rotation of the shoulder (turning the front of the arm out to the side), horizontal abduction (moving the arm away from the body when the arm is out in front of you), and stabilizing the shoulder joint.

The muscle can be aggravated by catching yourself falling down the stairs by grabbing onto the bannister. Hard services in tennis, pitching a baseball, or during the follow through in a golf swing can also aggravate this muscle. Those that work with their arms out in front of them like musicians (violinist) and office workers are prone to irritating this muscle.

If this muscle is a problem you may experience discomfort with putting your hand behind your back and discomfort when brushing your hair or teeth.

Depending on where you touch on the muscle it may refer to the deltoid, the front of the shoulder  (along the lines of the biceps) and between the shoulder blade.

Locating the infraspinatus

To locate the muscle find the spine of the scapula; that bony ridge on the shoulder blade.  Place your fingers just below the spine. Most of the musculature below the spine of the scapula is the infraspinatus. (please refer to the video)

How to release the infraspinatus

Take a ball and pin the tender spot down. This can be accomplished by laying down on the ball or placing the ball between you and the wall. Reach across your body. Hold for 10 to 60 seconds.

*** Disclaimer *** This video is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are in pain, please visit your local health care provider. If you are in Winnipeg go to the contact section to book an appointment with Dr Notley.

Enjoy healthy elbows, wrist and hands, with these circle exercises

The elbow joint is actually made up of 3 joints. These joints allow the elbow to bend and straighten as well and pronation and supination (turning the palm down and up when the elbow is bent).

To perform this exercise:

  • Begin with your elbow straight and your palm facing forward. Begin to bend your elbow. During this time supinate (turning the pinky side of the hand up towards the ceiling) the forearm as far as you can.

  • Once you have bent your elbow completely, turn the palm over towards the floor, att

  • empting to rotate the thumb to the floor as far as you can (pronating).

  • While you are pronating straighten out your arm.

Wrist, thumb and finger circles 

 

For the wrist:

Flex the wrist down as far as you can and then try and scribe out the largest circle

If you place you hand down on a table with the palm up your thumb can move up and down (abduction and adduction), in towards the pinky and out away from the pinky (flexion and extension) and it can rotate so that the pad of the thumb can touch each finger (opposition).

Start by lifting your thumb up towards the ceiling as far as you can and then towards your pinky circling around to the pads of the fingers and then away from the pinky finally ending up pointing back up towards the ceiling.

This can be performed in the other direction as well

 

The base of each finger can also create a circle as well.

Self myofascial release of the medial pterygoid

The medial pterygoid is a muscle of mastication (chewing).

It attaches onto the jaw near it’s angle but can’t be easily touched from out side of the mouth because there is bone is in the way.

Most of this muscle is found on the inside of the mouth just behind the bottom molars.

The action of this muscle is to close the jaw and to shift the jaw to the opposite side.

When it is a problem the ability to open the jaw is restricted.
and it can be quite tender to touch.

Pain can often be felt in the mouth but also around the TMJ.

I’m going to show you to methods to methods to treat this muscle. But remember that this muscle can be quit tender to do not be overly aggressive.

Method One

Slide your index finger down the inside of your cheek. The pad side is against the cheek and the nail said up against the molars. When you get to back of the molars you will bump into bone. Open your jaw and slide your finger in to the inner side of that bone . The muscle is right there. Apply mild to moderate pressure and wait for it to relax. Hold until it relaxes. Perform once 1 to 2 times a day.

Method two

Though not direct, this method helps treat the distal part of the muscle. As you can see, the muscle ends up at the angle of our jaw. Take your thumb and tuck it underneath your jaw at this point. Use the pad of your thumb to contact the tender point o this muscle. You will have an easier time getting into this spot if your tuck your chin down. Hold until it relaxes. Perform once 1 to 2 times a day

when trying to contact the muscle from the outside you need to be aware that there are salivary glands near here as well. If you feel like you are starting to salivate that tender spot may be the salivary gland.