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trich daddy
06-10-2004, 10:10 PM
Doing dips the other day, on the last rep, I went a bit too low and I think I might have 'strained' my pec muscle. For about an hour after the workout, there was a sharp pain (though not intense) when I would move my arms or twist my torso in such a way that would stretch the pec muscle. The pain is in the right pec right where it 'connects' to the sternum... it is towards the middle, vertically, of the muscle.

The pain eventually subsided, but then today I was moving a piece of furniture at work, and I felt it again. Same deal... would hurt if I stretched the muscle but not necessarily if I flexed it. This time, though, it only lasted for maybe 20 min before I couldn't get it to hurt no matter what I did with my arms or torso.

Tomorrow is *supposed* to be chest/lat day. But I am going to skip chest and make it a lat/bicep day.

Any idea what may be wrong? I'm not worried as my instincts tell me it's just something minor.... but I figured one of you out there would have had a similar experience and could maybe tell what was going on exactly.

Mikael
06-11-2004, 06:10 AM
Hey man I'm experiencing the same thing exactly... I did my chest workout last Monday. The pain appeared about one or two days later. It is a fairly minor pain exactly at the same place you described it: right pec, and towards the middle of the chest.
I feel it especially when I stretch my pec muscles or when I inspire very hard with my chest out. Strangely, also, when I lie on my right side.

Like you I wonder what it is? I don't think it's a torn muscle or else it'd hurt much more, especially during the workout... I'm scared to think it might be something related to my breathing system.

Kirman
06-11-2004, 07:17 AM
dudes im not sure what it is but if you've pulled it just ice it :D and rest it,,,

I've trapped a nerve at the bottom of my back :( been out of training for 3 weeks now and my chiropractor said i can start light training from monday as i'm healing quickly :D

take care peeps and hope you recover soon!

Augury
06-11-2004, 07:35 AM
Trich Daddy: I would agree with your own assesment. From what you have described you have a muscular or tendon strain. The pecs major (as you said) attaches one of its heads down the whole length of the sternum. it is a big muscle and can transmit a lot of force to the sternum. Obviously both sides of the pecs muscle "pull" on the sternum. Muscular injuries tend to be quite sharp to start with then go achey. They also reduce in pain quite quickly (noticable improbements in 2-3 days). From what you are are saying i think its simple muscle damage and you will be right as rain if you leave off training the pecs for 2 more days or so. If its a tendon pull on the sternum then it may well take longer to heal. When you do train your chest...warmup lighter than normal and listen to the pain signals you get. Stop if it hurts you.

Mikael: Your story is a bit different. The pecs as mentioned attaches to the sternum. So do the ribs. The ribs are involved with breathing as you know. The pectoralis major also attaches to your ribs on the way to the upper arm and its possible to "tug" a rib attachment slightly where the rib joints the sternum if the pecs is loaded with a sharp force...or an unusual one. Aslo...have you fallen recently? landed on your side? been punched in the chest? silly questions i know...but possible explanations.

The pecoralis major is a muscle also associated with forced breathing. if you breathe naturally its all diaphragm. If you drag in a hard breath its pecs that gets used (amongst others) to raise the ribcage rapidly. normally you need to brace the arms for maximal effect (why you see marathon runners lean over and grip their thighs after a race to breathe more deeply).

If you have possibly got one or more ribs slightly out of place where they attach to the sternum I would expect your symptoms. Pain in forced breathing...pain laying on your side (pushing the ribs into the sternal joints). However the pain (if the ribs are only slightly pulled in the sockets) will not be too sharp...more dull and achey, but also not getting better fast.

It could well still just be a tendon pull at the insertion of the pecs...but that shouldnt really hurt if you lay on your side. i dont think its muscular. Its also nothing to worry about. You are breathing just fine. If the pain persists past about another week of being careful and not slamming it with weights then I would suggest going to see a doc or a chiro. it would take a chiro about 10 mins to "pop" two slightly misaligned ribs back into place. They sometimes get slightly rotated.

Hope that helps.
Augs

trich daddy
06-11-2004, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the help... some very good information there.


The pecoralis major is a muscle also associated with forced breathing. if you breathe naturally its all diaphragm. If you drag in a hard breath its pecs that gets used (amongst others) to raise the ribcage rapidly. normally you need to brace the arms for maximal effect (why you see marathon runners lean over and grip their thighs after a race to breathe more deeply).

I just had to add that this is an evolutionary advantage that mammals have over reptiles. Reptiles can only breathe with their chest muscles, but they must also use their chest muscles to walk. Thus they can only take shallow breaths while moving and must rest frequently...

Mikael, Augury asked you if you had been hit in the chest recently. But I must ask if you maybe bounced the bar off your chest particularly hard when you were bench pressing? Happened to a friend of mine once and he experienced kinda the same symptoms as you...

Augury
06-11-2004, 07:08 PM
Mikael, Augury asked you if you had been hit in the chest recently. But I must ask if you maybe bounced the bar off your chest particularly hard when you were bench pressing? Happened to a friend of mine once and he experienced kinda the same symptoms as you...

Now THAT is a good question. Why didnt i think to ask that. Live and learn ;)

Mikael
06-11-2004, 09:21 PM
Guys, thanks for the tremendous info.

The weird thing is that no, I didn't bounce the weight off my chest, didn't get hit, didn't fall from a multistorey building... Nothing unusual. Just adding a little weight to my bench press, my incline bench, and my flies, like I do every week. I may have gone too far?

Anyway, it seems Augury's analysis was spot on. The pain, which was quite sharp when I was yawning for instance, is disappearing and now I almost can't feel a thing. Who knows, maybe my grueling biceps/triceps/shoulders workout today helped... heh.

When chest day arrives on Monday, I guess I should still be very cautious and not look to improve on all my personal bests?

Augury
06-12-2004, 07:19 PM
That would be a wise move Mikael. Maybee drop back to 80% of what you lifted last time and see how it feels. if all is well afterwards then go rock the world next time thru. No rush, one week of caution wont kill you and could well save you from a more painful re-injury if the damage is still in the "only just knitted back up" stage :)

Good luck.

trich daddy
06-15-2004, 09:17 PM
So I'm not getting better...

It's been a week, today was shoulder/tri and back day. Now the muscle itself doesn't hurt... it's something skeletal, I think. It hurts to cough, sneeze, breathe deeply, or otherwise 'stretch' my upper torso. For example, on shoulder press, I feel pain when I lower the weights to my shoulders as this stretches my chest. But I tried doing bench press, and it didn't hurt. Dips hurt... so I stopped. The bottom of pullups was uncomfortable...

The pain is kind of dull and achey sometimes, and sharp other times. It's not enough to make me wince even, but it's definitely there. If I push in on my right chest, I can feel my rib and I think it is swollen. It doesn't necessarily hurt to push on it, but that particular area is tender.

How worried sh ould I be? How long will it take to heal? Can I speed up the healing process?

reaver
06-15-2004, 09:40 PM
If its really bad I would be reluctant to do chest, they incorpate some of the same motions. I know when you injured you look tio pick up the slack with something else, but I would think about skipping it. Not to mention you are taxing your body by recovering from wo and injury.
Depends how bad it is.

Augury
06-15-2004, 09:49 PM
So I'm not getting better...
It hurts to cough,sneeze, breathe deeply, or otherwise 'stretch' my upper torso. Dips hurt... so I stopped. The bottom of pullups was uncomfortable..The pain is kind of dull and achey sometimes, and sharp other times. If I push in on my right chest, I can feel my rib and I think it is swollen. It doesn't necessarily hurt to push on it, but that particular area is tender.
How worried sh ould I be? How long will it take to heal? Can I speed up the healing process?

Its very possible you have torn an intercostal muscle. These are the muscles that lie between your ribs and serve you by moving the ribcage for breathing.

As I said initially...3/4 days for simple muscular damage to start getting noticably better. If you have torn and intercostal then training on it (especially pullups and shoulder presses) both serve to either stretch or compress it and its going to hurt. More importantly its not going to knit up or heal quickly with this abuse. These muscles are used constantly every time you breathe.

Its also perfectly possible you have torn a part of your lat attachment at the rib. it runs up the back of the ribcage and crosses several ribs. Lats is a sneezing/coughing muscle and would also hurt when coughing and sneezing if the attachment to the ribs is a bit torn (and obviously on pullups/shoulders). These are best gueses from info..HOWEVER:-

I think its rest time. no more training and go see a doc. I cant be any more help really over a forum . I imagine doc will give you anti inflamatories and tell you to stop training for a bit. Hopefully he will also poke you a lot to make sure nothing is actually worse than a tear. Just to put your mind at rest though...i do not think from what you have said that you will need more than a week or 2 rest - but not resting will perpetuate this.

Augs

trich daddy
06-15-2004, 09:53 PM
Its very possible you have torn an intercostal muscle. These are the muscles that lie between your ribs and serve you by moving the ribcage for breathing.

As I said initially...3/4 days for simple muscular damage to start getting noticably better. If you have torn and intercostal then training on it (especially pullups and shoulder presses) both serve to either stretch or compress it and its going to hurt. More importantly its not going to knit up or heal quickly with this abuse. These muscles are used constantly every time you breathe.

Its also perfectly possible you have torn a part of your lat attachment at the rib. it runs up the back of the ribcage and crosses several ribs. Lats is a sneezing/coughing muscle and would also hurt when coughing and sneezing if the attachment to the ribs is a bit torn (and obviously on pullups/shoulders). These are best gueses from info..HOWEVER:-

I think its rest time. no more training and go see a doc. I cant be any more help really over a forum . I imagine doc will give you anti inflamatories and tell you to stop training for a bit. Hopefully he will also poke you a lot to make sure nothing is actually worse than a tear. Just to put your mind at rest though...i do not think from what you have said that you will need more than a week or 2 rest - but not resting will perpetuate this.

Augs

Thanks. It was almost time for a week of rest anyway... so two won't hurt. A friend of mine is a very good physical therapist, so I might have her come and take a look... I will make a doctor's appointment if she gives the same advice.

Augury
06-15-2004, 10:02 PM
Cool beans :) I wish you all the best and hope you get back to tearing up the gym soon.

Augs

trich daddy
07-06-2004, 09:46 PM
So I had the physical therapist look at it for me... she thought it was either a torn intercostal or else a separated/dislocated rib.

I'm now leaning toward the dislocated rib as I gave a two week rest, went back on Friday, and still had pain in lifts which involved a stretching of the rib cage.... ie dips, and squats (at the bottom where your chest is puffed out). It is getting better though.. it no lnoger hurts to breath deep and only occasionally gives me a sting when I sneeze.

Interestingly, bench press doesn't give me any pain. I plan on taking it easy, doing more cardio, and simply staying away from the lifts that give me pain. She said I should be all fixed up, assuming I don't abuse it, in another 4 weeks.

She said the recovery time for both a torn intercostal and a separated rib is about 4-6 weeks, with some lingering stiffness/discomfort. Also, I'm leaning toward the separated rib as the pain has 'jumped' around a little bit as its healed (this is sometimes a symptom). I'll have pain on the left side of my chest, and sometimes 'inside' my back, like on the inside of the rib cage near my right lat.

Augury
07-07-2004, 04:44 AM
Thanks for the feedback there Trich. Its really helpfull when people who rip themselves up on this forum and say "eek...what did i do to myself" and you have a go at diagnosis from symptoms and some tests actually go to the docs/therapist (i trust therapists anatomy much more) and you post up the working diagnosis. So thanks for that. Its also really usefull to learn the recovery times of more exotic damage than just a muscle strain.

On a side note, Im not surprised you can do bench without too much pain in the ribs. Pecs contractions really only involve sternum and arm and dont directly affect the ribs at all. Tensing your abdominals for "lift pressure" is most likely to casue you twinges.

Glad to hear you are on the mend now :)