The chest or pectoral muscle is highly susceptible to injuries especially among bodybuilders, weightlifters and those who are engaged in contact sports. By being familiar with the warning signs and first aid care for a pectoral muscle that is torn can be beneficial. The indications of a torn pectoral muscle include pain in the chest, swelling, bruising and burning sensation. The distinctive signs of a chest muscle that is torn include loss of movement of lifting power.
What is the pectoral muscle?
The pectoral or pectoralis major is the large-sized muscle in the torso that fans across starting at the shoulder up to the breastbone. There are two pectoral muscles are responsible for creating the bulk in the chest. A well-developed pectoralis major is quite evident in men while the breasts in women typically conceal these muscles.
The second pectoral muscle which is the pectoralis minor is situated under the pectoralis major. Take note that the pectoral muscles are mainly used to control the movement of the arm. These muscles also play an important role in deep inhalation by pulling the ribcage to create room for the lungs to fully expand. There are six separate sets of muscle fiber that were identified within the pectoralis major muscle. These allow parts of the muscles to be moved in an independent manner by the nervous system.
First aid care for a torn pectoral muscle
- As the primary first aid measure, instruct the individual to stop the activity. Take note that a torn pectoral muscle can produce a pop-like sound or burn in a profuse manner. The capability to lift is drastically diminished as well as the incapacity to move the arms in a horizontal manner.
- The muscle injury should be treated with rest and application of heat and ice. An ice pack must be wrapped in a cloth or towel before applying on the skin to prevent direct contact. Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes.
- Instruct the individual to limit movement. The shoulder or arm on the affected side must not be used. Always remember that rest is vital for the healing process.
- For severe tears and relief could not be provided by the measures stated, it is best to consult a doctor. In most cases, surgical intervention is required to restore a torn pectoral muscle.
- After surgery, the individual could not utilize the injured pectoral muscle and restoring full strength will take up months or even years. In certain cases, the rehabilitation of the affected area can cause a lot of pain and it is an extensive process that can last for several months.
Important considerations to bear in mind
When lifting the weights, avoid overloading the weights. Simply work steadily to the weight that your muscles can handle.
If the symptoms of a torn pectoral muscle continue to persist after the application of heat and cold or there is tingling sensation, unresponsiveness or loss of motion for several days, it is best to schedule an appointment with your doctor.