Self Care – Pain Along the Collar Bone and Down the Arm

Change or Avoid these Activities:

Once this trigger point has become irritated, activities that press down will elicit the pattern. Those activities include things like kneading dough, push up to get out of a chair, chiropractic adjustments, or digging holes to plant flowers.

It is even more aggravated, and usually created by the downward motion that has a forceful jerk. This might include digging post holes, playing tennis or kettle bells.


an amazing arm balance from yogajournal.com

Arm balances that have your elbows back toward you hips usually aggravate this trigger point and elicit this pattern. Avoiding them would be good.

Poses that pull the clavicle back, like Camel Pose, will elicit the pattern mildly as it stretches the muscle to release it. If it mobilizes the sternoclavicular joint, it may release the trigger point with lasting results.

When you get this while you’re working at your desk, change your seated posture to open your chest and get that mouse closer to your torso. Here’s a post on a couple of different approaches to sitting at your desk without creating painful postural mistakes.


For temporary relief:

Run a piece of ice under your collar bone and do a few slow and gentle “touchdown” poses. You’d be surprised at how that offers relief. An IcyHot patch here will bother your eyes.

For longer-lasting results:

These doorway stretches with your arms high are easy, convenient and you should stop to do them several times a day.

Most folks want to stretch the biceps muscle, where the pain is. Many of those stretches, like the one in the picture, take that arm up and back, stretching the subclavius at the same time. That will help but doorway stretches offer better balance between the pecs and lengthen several of the muscles that support the shortened subclavius muscle.

If you’re a little more robust:

Bench dips like this are great for opening your chest while strengthening it. Start easy and slow. Focus on the stretch downward so that the elbows eventually get level with the shoulders. The woman in this picture has great form.

Traditional dips, decline presses, and decline flyes are the kind of movements that aggravate this. All those movements flex the chest while lowering the shoulders.

If this doesn’t resolve with a little self-care, see a professional so that you don’t develop a chronic problem.

Does another Self-Care post
better match your pain?

Here is the post about the trigger point pattern associated with these Self-Care activities.

There may be a post that better matches your pattern in the posts about chest, upper arm, forearm or hand or the posts about patterns that create pain from your torso into your arm.


This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.


Weekly Featured Post

Customize Your Desk Area
To Avoid Pain
While Working and Afterward

We spend a lot of time reading and working on our computers. Here is a simple guide for the more active, athletic body and one that needs more support. There are also suggestions for accessories that make your days at work (and afterward) more comfortable.

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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