Orthopaedics

Chest Muscle Strain

A chest muscle strain is usually not a sudden onset, unless and until it is caused by a direct injury. It is the resultant of over-stretching or over-using the muscle after which point, the muscle would have to give in. But these injuries are most common and can also be dealt with easily.

Chest Muscle Strain

The chest muscles can be strained due to an effect on the tendons, muscles or bones that attach to the breastbone. These muscles are important for having a stabilised motion of the breast and the ribs.

  • Usually vigorous workouts or a loss of balance during workouts are something that can easily strain the chest muscle. Increasing weights and pushing the muscle over a limit can strain the muscles in the region over a period of time.
  • If this situation is not taken care of properly, there is every chance that the muscle can get damaged permanently, leave aside healing.

Types

As mentioned above, an injury to the muscles or tendons that attach to the breastbone or sternum causes a strain of the chest muscle. Based on the severity of the injury, these strains are classified into three grades.

  • Grade I

    This is considered to be a mild strain and does not cause any damage to the muscles or tendons. It is just a pulled muscle and there is no associated loss of strength as well.

  • Grade II

    This is a moderate strain and can result in tearing of the muscle fibers or tendons in the chest. Due to the tear, there would be a loss of strength and also the injury would take some time to heal.

  • Grade III

    These strains are severe as the muscles and tendons in the chest region are completely ruptured and the muscle fibers are also completely separated. A surgery followed by a long rest are essential for healing these grade III strains.

Treatment

The following techniques can help alleviate the pain-

  • 4-5 15 minutes ice massages in a day after getting injured
  • replace ice with heat on the 2nd day; heating pads or analgesic gels will help
  • whirlpool treatments
  • massaging
  • compression using a surgical band-aid over the chest region

A chest muscle strain can be avoided by properly warming up a body before beginning a workout, although it may not be possible to escape a direct injury.

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