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Pectoralis Minor Syndrome

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Unread 02-22-2012, 10:08 AM   #1
danieldunn10
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Default Pectoralis Minor Syndrome

Hi, I've had an undiagnosed problem for a few years now, I had thought it might be TOS, but I think it might actually be Pectoralis Minor Syndrome. As I never have any pain down my arm and in my hands, the pain is always just in my armpit.

Please could you take the time if you can to help, I've had this problem for so long and it has really got me down...

In 2009 after using too wich weight during a chest exercise I injured my chest. I was a bit achey straight after but not too bad, a couple of days after though I started getting a really bad stabbing pain on the outer part of my chest near my armpit.

It took a month or so for that pain to subside, and because the pain was so bad I didnt use that arm at all. I've had lots of problems since though. The main problem I have is that whenever I carry something heavy (for example a heavy shopping bag), afterwards I get a pain deep in my arpit.

I never get any pain while actually carrying the heavy bag, but say 30 minutes afterwards the pain comes on. The pain is also related to how much weight I've carried, for example carrying a heavy shopping back for 20 seconds could mean an annoying pain for a couple of hours. Or if I did a weights session using very heavy weights, I could have really bad pain
for two weeks (I've only done this once, and never again at the moment!)

The pain is a dull knawing pain (like a toothache) which is constantly there. Its like somebody is pushing something like the rounded end of a pen up into my armpit and holding it there all day.

Another slight pain I get at the same time is an ache on the inside of my shoulder blade.

I had surgery on a hernia 3 months ago, and during this time I had absolutely no problems, I think because I wasnt able to carry anything of any weight. Now I've started carrying things again the problem has come back.

I havent found too many things which help, but some things that do a bit are...

- Hunching my shoulders forward and holding that stretch, or reaching as far foward with my hands as I can and holding the stretch
- When playing golf, the pain can dissapear while playing, but then come on quite bad an hour or so later. (possibly something loosens up during playing, and then tightens after?)
- Walking around and Running can ease the problem when I have it.
- Sometimes a warm shower can help

Some of the things I've noticed are...

- My good side actually has a more noticable rounded shoulder than my bad side
- My clavicle sticks out more on my good side (possibly due to more rounded shoulder)
- I have no problems in the night, even when the pain is really bad, the first few moments of the day I have no pain at all
- I have a lot less back muscle on my bad side

If there is anything you think might help, or have any articles would help please let me know.

I've been trying scalene and pec minor stretches.

Thanks very much for your time
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Unread 02-22-2012, 11:43 AM   #2
danieldunn10
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I dont think this is much, but after measuring my relaxed hanging arm position, I found both hands internally rotated the same amount, my palms are both 45 degrees rotated in.

But my good side has a more rounded shoulder, the shoulder on my bad side actually looks like it is in a better position, its not as rounded forward!
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Unread 02-22-2012, 01:30 PM   #3
Jo*mar
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Here's another thread with pec minor discussion & info
http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/thread164739.html

I would stop any weight work untill you get this figured out.
It sounds like a strain w/some myofascial adhiesions going on after the fact.

slow steady posture work and Sharon Butler's book and/or website will have many ideas for you to try. Her book is in most libraries, but many articles on her website.
www.selfcare4rsi.com

Delayed pain is a TOS like thing, happens often.

Check out our Useful sticky threads above the main thread list , there is a wealth of info on all RSI/TOS type things. therapy and selfcare too.
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Unread 02-22-2012, 06:25 PM   #4
danieldunn10
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Thanks for taking the time to reply.

I probably had a pec strain about 3 years ago, even though I had it all that time ago, if I keep doing pec stretches everyday would it still breakup those old adhesions?

Why would I only get the problem after I lift something heavy? After my hernia surgery recently I didn’t carry anything over a couple of pounds and I had absolutely no problems during that time.

I had been seeing a physio who said I had a “Tethered nerve” and that it felt “sticky” in my armpit. She would massage a spot in my armpit for 20 minutes or so and stretch my arm. Just after it would initially feel like my arm could swing a lot more easily when walking, it felt a lot better, something wasn’t catching in my armpit when walking.

An hour or so after the session though it would feel the same again. I think the physio got fed up of me going back all of the time, although it helped it seemed to be just a temporary fix, so I stopped going.

My chest doesn’t feel particularly tight and the shoulder doesn’t look too rounded, and it looks better than my good side. My back does look week in comparison to my good side though.

I’m only 26 and used to play sport regularly. I have tried to keep playing golf, it seems fine while I’m playing (is this because things become looser?), I just try put up with the pain after. I cant seem to be able to do weights at all, and I used to go a lot to the gym.

I don’t really want to be having surgery for this, I’d like to find out what I have and do whatever stretch / exercise for it. Would you say just keep doing as many pec stretches as possible?

Thanks very much

I found a post on ecentral.com which seems to fit more in with me than anything else I’ve read. I don’t think I have a normal TOS.

These aren’t my symptoms…

The most frequent complaints are numbness and tingling in the fingers; pain in the neck, shoulder, and arm; headaches in the back of the head; weakness of the arm and dropping things from the hand; worsening of the symptoms when elevating the arm to do such things as comb or blow dry one's hair or drive a car; and coldness and color changes in the hand. The symptoms are often worse at night or when using the arm for work or other activities.


Achy shoulder blade and armpit pain are my symptoms…

In 2005 we became aware of a large number of patients who, in addition to these symptoms, also had pain in the anterior chest wall, just below the collar bone along with pain over the shoulder blade and in the arm pit. Until recently it was thought that these symptoms were due to TOS, but now it has been learned that they are due to a condition frequently accompanying TOS, namely pectoralis minor syndrome.

I work on a computer, and the symptoms appeared spontaneously one day, an MRI showed no problem and no extra rib…


Whiplash injuries from auto accidents and repetitive stress in the workplace, are the two most common causes. Some of the occupations that we see causing TOS include working on assembly lines, keyboards, or 10-key pads, as well as filing or stocking shelves overhead. In some people, symptoms develop spontaneously, without an obvious cause. An extra rib in the neck occurs in less than 1% of the population.
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Unread 02-23-2012, 02:21 AM   #5
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If you are having fairly constant & annoying symptoms/pain I suggest finding an advanced PT, or even an expert chiropractor that will do PT type modalities. If it is more of a minor discomfort you can probably try to work out a plan on your own, but sometimes it is better to at least have someone to guide you at the start. But not a rookie or macho type that insists on pain = gain - no way!!
But a good one should be able to help you get on the right track with some sessions and then to develop a self care plan for you to follow.

Doing to much too soon, or going hung ho & overzealous on new things is a good way to have a set back, TOS type stuff needs slow and steady to move forward.

I still did a lot of reading and searching on my own for more things to use & try on myself for my symptoms & issues.

There are also nerve glides in our useful sticky thread post 18 or so I think.
those are good for when the nerve is stuck or trapped.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
danieldunn10
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Thanks for your advice Jo.

Do you think it sounds like a nerve problem I'm having, even though the pain is coming from my armpit? I've never

had any numbness tingling in my hands or arms?

If I move my arm around in different positions the pain never gets any worse or better which is why i didnt think it

was a muscle problem.

I seem to find the problem dissapears after chest stretches, going for a run, playing golf, rotating my arm around

in big circles. I never have any pain while doing an activity, its always feels fine when doing an activity.

I think i've found that if I keep that armpit stretched and mobile I can temporarily reduce the pain. But how can i

stop my nerve sticking to my muscle?

I dont have to do all that for my right side. Will I have to do this forever?

I've looked back at some old progress pictures of when I used to goto the gym. My shoulders are actually in better

positions now. I dont think its because of droopy shoulders.

My back muscles were stonger then (but my chest was a lot stronger in comparison, so better balanced now) but my

back on my bad side is definitely a lot weaker than the good side.

Thanks for all your help
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