How Do I Treat a Strained Chest Muscle?

A strained chest muscle can occur after a strenuous workout, after which you should have a few days of rest and recovery before resuming activities.
Ibuprofen can be used to reduce the pain and swelling of a strained chest muscle.
An anatomical illustration showing many muscles in the upper body, including the pectoralis major, the large muscle in the chest.
Rest is important in treating a strained chest muscle.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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A strained chest muscle may occur after a strenuous physical workout or a traumatic injury to the chest. It is important to visit a doctor to rule out serious medical conditions such as a broken rib or damage to the muscles surrounding the heart. Once the diagnosis of a strained chest muscle has been made, treatment can begin. Some treatment options may include rest, over-the-counter or prescription medications, and heat or ice therapy.

Pain is the primary symptom of this kind of strained muscle. Depending on the severity of the injury, the pain may be constant, or it may intensify during any kind of movement involving the chest. If the strain is severe, moving the arms may lead to increased muscle pain in the chest. Since vital organs such as the heart and lungs are located in the chest cavity, it is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis instead of attempting to self-medicate without knowing if serious damage has been done.

Rest is an important first step in treating a strained chest muscle. Strained or pulled muscles will often heal themselves over a period of time as long as the patient avoids activities which may cause further damage. Bed rest is generally recommended during this period of recovery.

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While recovering from a strained muscle, pain medications may help you to be more comfortable. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen are often suggested since ibuprofen helps to reduce swelling and inflammation while reducing pain levels. If non-prescription pain relievers do not provide adequate relief, the doctor may prescribe stronger medications.

Heat or ice therapy is often recommended when treating this condition. Both methods have relatively equal success rates, so whether to use heat or ice depends largely on your preferences. Many patients prefer to use ice therapy for the first few days after the injury in order to help reduce swelling. Heat therapy is often used later to help loosen muscles. Each method should be used for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

After a few days of rest and recuperation, the person who has suffered a strained muscle may slowly begin to resume activity. Gentle stretching exercises should begin slowly, with the patient stopping if pain returns. Once stretching becomes comfortable, you may slowly resume normal activities as tolerated, being careful not to do too much too soon. Continued pain should be reported to a physician.

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anon324744
Post 5

There is no mention whatsoever of the building blocks of the connective tissue that are the actual problem. This is why I don't go to the doctor. They know next to nothing except which drug masks which problem. I'm not kidding. The next time you're in the doctor's office, quiz them on nutrition. It's sad.

I take Vitamin D3; B6; Magnesium (not oxide though); C; Glucosamine Sulfate; Chondroitin Sulfate (in low molecular weight) and protein.

These help supply your body with the building blocks it needs to heal itself. Throw those NSAID's out the window. They don't heal anything.

jonrss
Post 3

A strained chest muscle can actually be a symptom of a much more serious problem which is a torn chest muscle. It would be very hard to sustain this kind of injury, but it would be possible. A lot of the symptoms would be similar to chest muscle strain symptoms but they would last much longer and be a lot more painful. Anyone who experiences prolonged pain should really see their doctor because the problem could be more severe than they realize.

nextcorrea
Post 2

I have not worked out in a gym in over 10 years. I got a new membership last week and went in yesterday for the first time. I didn't want to look like the new guy or someone that was in pathetic shape so I walked straight over to the bench press and put 45 lb weights on both sides. I was able to lift it 3 times before it collapsed on my chest and I had to yell out for help.

Needless to say it was really embarrassing. But even worse than that is that my chest is now killing me. My muscles haven't felt this bad in years. Its like someone drove a car right over my chest. I know that the only real cure is to weight it out but I would give almost anything for some relief right now.

backdraft
Post 1

Whenever I get muscle pain I take a bath in Epsom salts. This is a trick that my mother showed me and apparently it has been around for ages. It really does relieve some of the pain and there is something very relaxing about being submerged in the salty water. I can;t claim that it will take all the pain away, it is not a miracle cure, but it will help.

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