Pulled Chest Muscle
How To Deal With A Pulled Chest Muscle
If you are an athlete or into bodybuilding you're at greater risk of experiencing a pulled chest muscle than is the average person. While the degree of injury may vary, a pulled chest muscle is not something to fool around with.
The term pulled chest muscle is somewhat of a misnomer. We often hear about a runner pulling a hamstring muscle, and in severe cases, where the muscle actually ruptures, it can mean the end of an athletic career. The muscle has actually been strained to the breaking point. Insofar as the muscles of the chest are concerned, we really can't pull them, but we can strain them to the point where tendons become damaged and the associated pain can become intolerable.
Make The Warm Up A Part Of Your Routine - When we train for an athletic event, or simply are training to attain and maintain a good physical condition, we are cautioned to warm up before performing certain exercises. This warm up may consist of the exercise we are about to perform, but at a lower level of intensity, with a lower weight, or with slower movements. The warm up may include stretching of muscles in the area we are going to be using. A pulled or strained chest muscle often occurs due to a quick movement, or the sudden moving of a weight, when the muscle hasn't been adequately prepared. The bench press is one activity where a pulled chest muscle is most apt to occur. Don't stop doing bench presses if that's part of your routine, or a necessary exercise in reaching a certain goal. It's just that lifting a weight suddenly, even if you've done it before, can cause an injury.
A strained chest muscle is a normal part of working out. Every time you exercise a muscle a little harder or longer than you have before, it will suffer what are called micro tears. These are very tiny tears in the muscles tissues as it has been stretched beyond the normal limit. These tears, if severe enough, can cause pain, usually lasting no more than a day or two. This is one reason why someone in training will not do the same exercise two days in a row. The micro tears and the muscle itself need that day to recover.
Degrees Of Injury - Just be aware that micro tears happen and are normally of no concern. A slightly larger muscle tear might create enough discomfort to cause you to want to hold off activity for a day. This could be considered a low level case of a pulled chest muscle. You have freedom of movement, but specific activities may be too painful to attempt. A more severe muscle pull may result in moderate pain, accompanied by swelling and inflammation. The pain may be sharp when performing certain physical activities, especially when performing them at an intense level. This is the point where thoughts of playing through the pain are sometimes entertained but should not be. Exercising or stressing a muscle or muscle group that has already been damaged is only going to make things worse, and will increase the chances of injuring the muscle even further. If the muscle is severely strained or torn, the pain may well become intolerable, even with the slightest movement. When this happens, it is senseless to try to continue. You have to accept that you are going to be on the shelf (or in bed) for awhile, several weeks if not longer.
A severely pulled chest muscle can mean not only damage to the muscle itself, but damage to the tendons as well. This most often is apt to occur in the region where the biceps, deltoid, and pectoral tendons meet. Any injury in this area will be debilitating, restricting one to the simplest of movements. Even sitting can be painful, and the only option at times is bed rest.
Don't Wrap, Rest - It is believed by some, that the remedy for a severely pulled chest muscle is to wrap the chest tightly. While this may help relieve the pain to some degree, it is not going to hasten the cure, and few if any physicians would prescribe wrapping the chest as a means of treatment. A tightly wrapped chest over an extended period of time can lead to other complications, as breathing becomes inhibited. Rest is the only real option.
It's best not to fool around with a pulled chest muscle, even if it appears to be a moderate injury. Prevention is of course the best course of action, but injuries do happen. Just don't try to be a hero. Consult with a professional trainer, or your physician, if the pain is particularly sharp or severe. Take it easy and live to fight another day.