Subclavius Muscle Pain And Trigger Points

Most people do not know about the subclavius muscle, but it can be the source of pain in the area of your biceps brachii, your inner forearm or your first three fingers.

If you have a rounded back posture or if you are working a lot on your desk – writing and reading – the chances are good that this muscle is tight or even contains tender or trigger points.


Pain Zone

Attachment Points



Impaired Movements



Pain Zone Of The Subclavius Muscle

With trigger points in this muscle, you might feel pain all the way down your arm. It may even radiate into your thumb and first two fingers. The darker the red in the picture below, the more common it is to feel pain in the respective area when trigger points are present in this muscle.

Hence, this muscle can, among others, contribute to the following pain symptoms.

Click on the just placed links to learn how you can relieve yourself from the corresponding pain.

Subclavius Muscle: Attachment Points

It connects the outer and underside of your collarbone with your first rib.

Subclavius Function

On the one hand this muscle helps to stabilize the joint that is formed by your breast bone and the collarbone, called the sterno clavicular joint.

Furthermore, when it contracts, it brings the collarbone and the first rib closer together. By doing so it helps or assists a protraction - forward shift - of your shoulder.

Overuse And Trigger Point Development

As the subclavius muscle is not exerting or initiating really big movements, there are none of such that are common to overstress it. But a round back brings the muscle in a shortened position. Over time this can make the muscle tighten up and eventually developing tender and trigger points.

Impaired Or Painful Movements

I know of no activities that may be impaired with this muscle being too tight. Still, it might leave you with a tight feeling in your chest and may impair your shoulder flexibility.

Subclavius Palpation

The subclavius muscle lies directly under your collarbone and your pectoralis muscle. This makes it a little tricky to sense. But if you bring your arm close to your body and rotate it inwards, you may be able to feel it with your fingers underneath your collarbone.

If not, do not get upset or stress yourself. For this muscle it is not too important to feel it as long as you know where to place the massage equipment.

Subclavius Self-Massage

Massaging the subclavius muscle will obviously lead to a simultaneous massage of the upper part of your pectoralis major. This is no problem at all as most people I know of would benefit from massaging their chest.

I recommend using the thumb technique or a knob for massaging this muscle.

When using your thumb, make sure you support it properly with your fingers. You may even use your other hand for further support. Just make sure you keep that one close to your body while doing so.

Otherwise you will stretch the upper part of your pectoralis major, which will make it harder to get through to your subclavius muscle.

When you use a knob – a single knob or a knob on a cane –, just place it on the subclavius and start your massage. Here again, you may use both hands for exerting pressure. This will put less stress on your shoulders.

As always, search for tender areas. As soon as you find one, give it some special attention and massage it with slow and precise strokes.


Calais-German, Blandine. Anatomy of Movement. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993. Print

Davies, Clair, and Davies, Amber. The Trigger Point Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide For Pain Relief. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2004. Print

Simons, David G., Lois S. Simons, and Janet G. Travell. Travell & Simons' Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1999. Print.

Schünke, Michael., Schulte, Erik, and Schumacher, Udo. Prometheus: Lernatlas der Anatomie. Stuttgart/New York: Georg Thieme Verlag, 2007. Print

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