A pulled or strained chest muscle may leave you with a stabbing discomfort. When your muscle is stretched or ripped, you experience a strain or pull.
Intercostal muscle strain is thought to cause up to 49% of cases of chest pain. Your chest has three layers of intercostal muscles. Thanks to these muscles, you can breathe more easily and keep your upper body stable.
Traditional signs of chest muscle tension include:
- Pain that may be subtle (a persistent strain) or severe (an acute pull)
- increased muscular spasms
- having trouble moving the injured part
- breathing difficulty bruising
Get medical attention if your pain strikes unexpectedly while performing a strenuous activity or exercise.
If any of the following accompanies your discomfort, go to the emergency room or dial your local emergency services:
difficulties Sweating, rapid pulse breathing, irritability, fever sleepiness
These are indications of graver problems, like heart attacks.
Overuse is frequently the cause of chest wall pain from a pulled or strained muscle. You might have hurt yourself while playing sports or lifting a big object. For instance, repetitive action is used in sports like gymnastics, rowing, tennis, and golf, which can lead to chronic strains.
Other activities that could be stressful include:
extending your arms over your head for extended periods, lifting while twisting your body, skipping warm-ups before an activity, having poor flexibility, or having poor athletic fitness contact injuries from sports, auto accidents, or other events
fatigued muscles caused by defective equipment (such as a damaged weight machine)
Specific illnesses can also bring on muscular chest discomfort. It’s conceivable you pulled a muscle when coughing if you recently had a chest cold or bronchitis.
Are some people more at risk than others?
Chest muscle strain can happen to anyone:
- Older people are more likely to have chest wall injuries from falls.
- Adults may have a higher risk of chest pulls or other injuries due to auto accidents or physical activity.
- The least likely age group to sustain chest muscle injuries is children.
Consult your doctor if you have concerns about your chest pain or are unsure if it is caused by a torn muscle or anything else. Your doctor will inquire about your signs and symptoms, medical history, and any actions that might have caused discomfort.
Acute or chronic muscle strain can be divided into two categories:
- A fall or automobile collision is direct trauma that might cause acute strains.
- Longer-term activity, such as repetitive motions employed in sports or specific work responsibilities, can cause chronic strains.
The severity of the stresses is then graded:
Less than 5% of muscle fibres have a minor injury or Grade 1.
The muscle isn’t completely ruptured, but there is significant damage at Grade 2—the muscle has lost strength and mobility.
A total muscle rupture, which occasionally necessitates surgery, is described in grade 3.
Your doctor may occasionally recommend testing to rule out heart attacks, bone fractures, and other problems. Testing might involve:
Electrocardiogram (ECG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-ray
As additional potential reasons for chest pain:
- bruises due to an injury
- worry attacks
- stomach ulcers
- stomach discomforts, such as pericarditis and esophageal reflux
More grave scenarios include:
- Angina is a decreased blood flow to the heart.
- pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in your lung’s pulmonary artery
- your aorta is torn (aortic dissection)
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is the first line of treatment for mild chest muscle strains:
Rest. As soon as you feel discomfort, stop what you’re doing. Two days after the injury, you can resume light exercise; however, cease if the discomfort comes back.
Ice. Up to three times daily, apply ice or a cold pack to the injured area for 20 minutes each time.
Compression. Any regions of inflammation can benefit from being bandaged with an elastic band but avoid wrapping too tightly to avoid restricting blood flow.
Elevation. Maintain an upright posture, particularly at night. Sleeping in a recliner might be beneficial.
Your symptoms from light pulls should go away with home treatment in a few weeks. You can take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to ease discomfort and inflammation while waiting.
Physical therapy and exercises to fix muscle imbalances that cause strain may be helpful if you suffer from chronic strain. More severe muscle tears may require surgery to be repaired.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if the pain or other symptoms you are experiencing don’t go away after applying at-home remedies.
While you’re recovering, you should avoid vigorous exercise like heavy lifting. You could gradually resume your prior sports and activities as your pain reduces. Pay close attention to any pain or other symptoms, and nap when needed.
Your healing period is based on how severe your strain was. Mild pulls may recover two to three weeks after the first injury. Even after surgery, more severe injuries can take months to recover. For the best outcomes, heed your doctor’s detailed instructions.
Trying to do too much too quickly could make your injury worse or aggravate it. The key is to pay attention to your body.
Complications from chest trauma could impact your breathing. You may risk getting a lung infection if your strain makes breathing challenging or prevents you from inhaling deeply. Your doctor may recommend breathing exercises to aid.
bad chest genes may influence a higher propensity for pulled chest muscles. The integrity and structure of the chest muscles may be impacted by genetic factors, rendering them more prone to damage. Genetic characteristics like poorer connective tissues or unbalanced muscular strength can also increase the risk. The risk of developing a torn chest muscle increases when a person with poor chest genes performs actions that tax the chest muscles, such as heavy lifting, repetitive motions, or sharp jerks. People with such genetic predispositions must be aware of their chest health and take precautions to prevent overusing or placing excessive strain on their chest muscles. Regular stretching, strengthening exercises, and the proper warm-up procedures can prevent pulling chest muscles. A physical therapist or healthcare expert can offer specialised advice on workouts and precautions particular to a person’s genetic predispositions and general health.
The majority of chest muscle sprains are manageable at home. Call your doctor if your pain doesn’t go away after using RICE or if it gets worse.
Exercise should be warmed up before and then cooled down. Cold muscles are more prone to strain.
Use caution when engaging in activities where you run the danger of falling or suffering another injury. When climbing or descending stairs, hold onto the handrails. When walking on slick areas, watch your step.
Pay attention to your body and take rest days as required. Fatigued muscles are more prone to strain. Carefully lift any heavy objects. Enlist assistance for challenging tasks. Heavy backpacks should be worn over both shoulders, not on the side. For persistent strains, think about physical treatment. Eat healthily and move more. Doing this lets you keep your weight in check and improve your athletic performance.