[Stephen Answers FAQ] Why Is My Chest So Tight?




Hey guys, what’s up? It’s Stephen… Happy Friday folks… I hope everyone’s having a great week.

Today I just wanted to discuss a question that I get commonly in the studio and it’s a question that I get from clients whether they are back pain clients, neck pain clients, knee pain clients or whatever they’re here for.

The question is “Why am I so tight in my chest?” and “what does that have to do with my plan of care in physical therapy?” The way I answer the question… the reason people are so tight in their chest today has to do with our modern culture and most of it has to do with the fact that we sit a lot. Our shoulders are elevated and rounded forward. As they elevate and round forward two things are happening: there’s a tension and tightness in the muscle here (on top of the shoulder blade) called the upper trap and the levator scapulae and there’s a tension in the front right here, in the muscle called the pectoral minor. The big chest is a pectoral major and the pectoral minor is right underneath it, now what happens with the pectoral minor… this is showing a left shoulder blade and a left humerus and a left collarbone… and what happens is the pectoral minor, the muscle that comes up and attaches right to this part of the shoulder blade and when it attaches there it pulls that shoulder forward based on that tension…

So again, no matter what my patients are coming in here for, nine out of ten of them have poor posture in their shoulder blades… up and forward… so I teach the vast majority of my clients how to release their pectoral minor by getting a ball, the gold ball that we have and we put that ball right into that spot and by leaning into the corner (or doorframe) and releasing that pectoral minor we start to get the shoulders to come back…

Now what I see very commonly is that whenever I ask my patients to bring their shoulders back and down, they don’t bring their shoulders back and down, they arch their back in an attempt to bring the shoulders back and down… So it’s very important that we have an understanding of where our low back and pelvis is and then understand the tightness and tension in the pectoral minors and how it’s important to relax those to get your shoulders back and down… So driving, texting, eating, all the stuff we do so commonly is what promotes that forwardness.

That’s my answer to the question why are we all so tight in the chest. If we don’t address that tightness, it really becomes a problem because for every inch the head and shoulder goes forward, it’s extra pressure in the neck and it’s also extra pressure in the low back…

So that’s what I got for you today… Release your pectoral minor, lay on your foam roller on your back long ways to open your chest and practice your breathing there. Those are some things that can help relieve a little bit of this tightness and tension in the chest.

Alright… that’s it for today, I hope all as well, comment below (on youtube) with any questions and we’ll see y’all soon…

See you Monday on FB live for our #MindfulMovementMonday class… it’ll be at 1:50p, central time,… join us and you can learn some new stuff to practice at home…

Are your shoulder blades up in your ears. Do you find yourself breathing shallow or even holding your breath? Do you already know about the tension above your shoulder blades, but not in the chest? Well, do not hesitate any longer… We Can Help. We help people with bad posture improve their pain, awareness, strength and flexibility to allow them to get back to doing the things they love to do…

Call 512-215-4227 to learn more about our many different options for getting to know us. We can send you a free ebook on neck and shoulder pain (or back pain or migraine headaches), a pain journal for you to keep a daily log or set up a phone consult or in person Discovery Session with one of our expert Physical Therapist…

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Stephen Dunn