Pain in the chest can commonly be mistaken as a cardiovascular condition, however many people rule out the fact of strain to the pectoralis muscles causing significant pain. The chest are is comprised of two primary muscles known as pectoralis major and minor muscles. Pectoralis major is the larger of the two as it originates from the sternum and crosses through the ribs and collarbone before inserting in the humerous. The pectoralis minor originates from the front of the ribs and inserts into the shoulder blade. These muscles are responsible for movements of the shoulder, for example pushing or pulling objects as well as movements of the arm across the chest region. 


The muscles of the chest can be classified according the severity of the strain or injury.

  • Grade 1: Is a result from a few torn muscle fibres of the pectoralis major and minor muscle that may result in a medium level of discomfort, however arm function is not compromised. 
  • Grade 2: Results from an increase in torn muscle fibres resulting in significant discomfort and pain as well as compromised arm function biomechanically. 
  • Grade 3: In this type of pectoralis muscle injury, almost all muscle fibres are torn and function of the arm is completely diminished compounded with significant pain. 

Causes of Pectoralis major and minor strains:

  • Sudden force through the muscles can result in tears as the muscle cannot withstand the pressure. This is very common in activities such as weight lifting or extreme lifting of weights. 
  • The pectoral muscles can also be strained and torn through repetitive and intensive use. Repetitive strain injuries can cause sever strains in the muscles which compromise movement significantly. 

Precipitating factors to the development of pectoral muscle strains include:

  • Abnormal biomechanics (e.g. inappropriate lifting techniques when lifting heavy weights).
  • Neck and upper back stiffness
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Weakness of lack of condition of pectoral muscles
  • Poor posture
  • Excessive training or repetitive movements of the muscles
  • Inadequate warm up or recovery time post exercise or movements
  • fatigue

Symptoms of pectoralis major and minor muscle strains/tears:

  • A sudden pain of tearing in the chest region or front of the shoulder during provocative exercises or range of movement. 
  • In grade 1 cases, people may experience a pain of stiffness in the chest or front of shoulder region after completing exercises or movement (particularly that night or the morning after).
  • Is a localised pain that rarely radiates to the neck and shoulder and often characterised as an ache which increase to sharp pain only when exacerbated by movement. 
  • Pain is also experienced when the muscle bellies of pectoralis major and minor are firmly pressed or stretching of those muscles are undertaken. 
  • Bruising, swelling, muscles spasm and weakness may also be experienced. 

Here at Lakeside Chiropractic care centre our team of chiropractors use objective and subjective forms of initial assessment and examination to diagnose a strain of the pectoral muscles. The chiropractor may also use further mediums such as x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI to further diagnose and gain a well-rounded picture of the injury. 

The team of chiropractors at Lakeside Chiropractic in Joondalup – Perth use various methods of treatment and care in order to rehabilitate the pectoral muscles, these include:

  • Soft tissue massage can help alleviate associated stiffness in and around surrounding muscles as well as trigger point release. 
  • Joint mobilisation and manipulation are techniques used by the sports chiropractors by passively ranging the shoulder joint to achieve a therapeutic effect. 
  • Progressive exercises and stretches will be given by our chiropractors to improve the flexibility and strength of the muscle, as well as the overall body posture.
  • Activity and training advice will be given by our chiropractors to ensure full recovery is made.
  • Education on technique and postural correction as a preventative measure.
  • Anti-inflammatory advice will be given if necessary. 

If you feel any muscular pain or discomfort in the chest region or across the front of the shoulder, the chiropractors at Lakeside Chiropractic – Perth care centre can not only help determine the cause of your pain but also assist in the rehabilitation and treatment process of the presenting condition. If you feel you experience any of these symptoms or have generalised pain in the chest area, please come and visit the chiropractors at Lakeside Chiropractic by either calling us on 9300 0095 or book online at www.lakesidechiro.com.au. 

Located in Perth’s northern suburb of Joondalup – Central Walk, we are central to Burns Beach, Iluka, Tapping, Carramar, Wanneroo, Kinross, Currambine, Hillarys, Heathridge, Padbury, Sorrento, Yanchep, Beldon, Craigie, Edgewater, Woodvale and Currambine. We have HICAPS on sight so we can claim on the day of treatment from your Health Fund. We are Medibank preferred but also accept BUPA, CGU, HBF, NIB, Police Health, Defence Health, ACA, HIF, HCF, Westfund and Frank Health. If your Health Fund is not listed please ask at the time of your booking to confirm.

Lakeside Chiropractic are more than just the spine. .

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