In my previous blog on Wednesday, we learned that the subclavius muscle acts as a pivotal point in conjunction with pectoralis minor and teres minor to facilitate shoulder movement . But how do you know if your subclavius is in need of some TLC?

The obvious symptoms may include tenderness or pain below the collarbone, in the upper arm or pain down the forearm into the thumb, forefinger and middle finger. Also, tightness or a restricted feeling of circulation in the arm and hand may be present.

Other common examples that illustrate how the subclavius may be overtaxed are the repetitive forward positions cell phones and computers put our shoulders, arms, thoracic and cervical spines in on a daily basis. Lifting heavy objects with the arms out in front of the body and sleeping on your side with the arm above the head may also tighten the subclavius, leading to a shortened or spasm induced state of the muscle. This can eventually restrict shoulder extension, external rotation and abduction.

So how do you maintain a healthy subclavius?

Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls are the perfect self-care product for myofascial release of the subclavius. The Classic size Therapy Balls can work their grip and grab magic along the contours of the collarbone because of their unique size and rubber texture. Applying pressure manually to the area under the collarbone is a great introduction to the subclavius. You can simply roll a therapy ball back and worth with the desired amount of pressure along the collarbone landscape. Also, pinning the therapy ball in place and spinning it clockwise and counterclockwise at different points along the length of the collarbone fluffs up the tissue nicely and enhances circulation. You may have to proceed gingerly at first as this can be a sensitive area, but you will feel your efforts immediately as breathing may feel less restricted.

In addition, you can also try the Yoga Tune Up® exercise Open Sesame in the video clip below. This is a deep chest and shoulder stretch exercise that will work efficiently to target, nourish and awaken muscles that impact shoulder health.

When assessing shoulder girdle function and movement, make sure you look beyond the point of restriction and/or pain to the other pivotal muscles to make sure all are in harmony with one another. Once the smaller stabilizers are doing their job, the larger movers such as the trapezius, latissiums, and pectoralis major can do their jobs as intended – instead of overworking to compensate for the smaller muscles. Getting to know your subclavius could be the difference you knead for pain-free shoulders!

 

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Amy Deguio

Amy is a YTU Certified Level 1 instructor and has been in the movement field for over 20 years. Her trainings and certifications include the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning with Romana Kryzanowska, Power Pilates, GYROKINESIS Level 1, GYROTONIC Level 1 and Xtend Barre. Amy resides in coastal New Hampshire and currently teaches privates and group classes at Studio 7 Fitness & Wellness.

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Maureen Aitken

Thanks Amy. This was a really useful demo. Presumably one can use balls on the P. minor at same time as moving the body?

Joy

What a great way to stretch the subclavius muscle..YTU balls and then Open sesame. I definitely knead to incorporate this into my daily routine. Thanks you!

Sheena Nadeau

Wow! amazing how the subclavius can be involved in nerve symptoms. Thank you for sharing this video!

Allison Pfeiffer

Great video and it is easy to see how big a stretch this pose really is! I have very tight shoulders so this gives me something to work towards. Thank you

Simran Khalsa

I like that once we get the smaller muscles doing their job correctly the larger muscles can align correctly and do their jobs as intended.

Susan J

Such clarity on why the pain is so great under each of my collarbones!

Baylea

This is one of my favorite ways to open up the front of the chest, and is very much adored by all my “desk sitter” students. Great job breaking down the how in the anatomy lesson.

Anne

This is an enormous stretch for me so I appreciate teaching it in stages! Nice to hear more about the poor little subclavius and how it can draw our shoulders forward. Nice blog.

Jimmee Greco

Thank you for including that clear video of Open Sesame. I love that pose! I’ll definitely be adding it to my shoulder maintenance routine!

Jillian

Thank you for the advice! I’ve been having pain in my chest right where the subclavius and pwc minor are located and it would run down all the way to my thumb like you said. I couldn’t figure out what to do and after using the YTU therapy balls I have been pain free. That is a great pose I should be doing to continue to open my chest and relieve the tension.

Thank you!

Praveena Chinthaluri

Thank you Amy, I have been working on the pec minor and sub clavius muscle today with the YTU balls and the open sesame is a nice addition to the practice

Sonja

Thank you, for your blog. This is helpful for my really tight shoulders.

Jared Cohen

Its amazing how even with as tacked down as the subclavius/pec minor region is, affecting change in that region w/ just a couple minutes of ball rolling is pretty immediate. Now for it to stay that way…. #chopwoodcarrywater

Mary

This is helpful but for tight shoulder folks like me we have to go a little slower and use a super gentle version of this pose. Hopefully if I keep consistent with this my shoulders will begin to open up more over time. Thanks for sharing!

Isabelle Barter

My subclavius muscles are extremely tender and I really didn’t realize their impact on how I hold my back body. When they are tense, they help pull my scapula apart – causing additional strain and pain in the area between my shoulder blades. Thank you for the great release technique!

Anya

My shoulders are pretty sensitive and this video helped me to release the stress. The stretch was simple but deep.
Thank you!

Ann

Thank you! I already do the awesome subclavius release with the YTU therapy balls, but will add the lovely Open Sesame to my regular shoulder routine. Love it! 🙂