Chest Muscle Pain

Chest Muscle Pain

A painful sensation in the chest usually triggers panic in many people, who assume it to be a heart attack. Chest muscle pain causes similar symptoms, so it is important to know how to differentiate between the two. This article sheds light on the symptoms and treatment of muscular pain in the chest.
Unrecognizable businessman having chest pain and heart attack
As with the rest of the muscles in your body, it is very easy to sprain your chest muscles too, leading to a painful sensation in the area. These muscles that line the rib cage can also become inflamed, which can hurt a lot. Chest muscle pain aggravates when we sneeze, cough, take deep breaths, or suddenly move the upper body. An important characteristic of muscle pain in the chest is that it can be re-experienced every time you press the chest muscles. This helps you distinguish it from a heart attack or any other cause of chest pain.

How to Identify Chest Muscle Pain?
  • Muscle pain will make your chest tender to touch. Any pressure exerted on the area gives rise to pain.
  • Muscle pain is quite persistent. It may not hurt as much if the affected person is stationary, but pain can be felt at the slightest movement.
  • The sensation of pain varies according to the type of injury. A simple sprain causes less pain as compared to a muscle tear in the area.
  • If you notice swelling or bruising on the chest after an injury, it is an indication of a pulled muscle in the chest wall.
  • You have trouble lifting objects which you normally used to.
  • You are unable to move your arms across the chest.
If you have observed one or more of these symptoms, it is important to speak to your doctor and get an examination done. This is to eliminate the possibility of lung disease, heart disease, or any other ailment that could be the cause of chest pain.

What Causes Muscle Pain in the Chest?

Chest Injuries
If you have suffered from a vehicle accident or a blunt force injury to the chest, you may experience varying degrees of pain in the chest, depending upon the severity of the injury. An acute, stabbing pain is felt when the muscle in the chest gets torn. Trauma, followed by a surgery may include a painful period of recuperation.

Torn Muscle
A torn muscle is characterized by a complete or partial rupture of the fibers of the muscle, which severely restricts its mobility. People involved in sports and bodybuilding are prone to pectoralis muscle strain. The pectoralis muscles are the largest muscles in the body, so a muscle pull in this area may be lesser in severity, but it also causes a lot of discomfort to the affected person.

Costochondritis or chest wall pain is caused as a result of an inflammation of the costal cartilage. People suffering from costochondritis have to refrain from indulging in any strenuous activity that might trigger an attack.

One can experience painful cramps in the chest region when the muscles bear the brunt of exertion or even dehydration. People who are suffering from chronic ailments like diabetes, arthritis, or thyroid disease also experience cramps in the chest.

Muscular Chest Pain Treatment

The muscles in the chest are the largest in the human body, and are used in a wide range of movements of the torso and arms. A strain or an injury in this region can put a restriction on basic movements like getting up or sitting down, using the hands while eating, walking, sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc. The affected person must consult a doctor to determine the severity of the injury to determine the course of treatment.
  • For a light sprain, an ice pack treatment will reduce the pain and swelling, if any. The recovery time for a muscle injury depends on its scale, but doctors recommend using an ice pack, several times a day in order to relieve the pain.
  • Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or naproxen to help control the swelling and reduce the pain.
  • The affected person is advised to take adequate rest before the rehabilitation program begins. Resting allows the injured muscle to heal at its own pace, so that the recovery is complete and the injury does not remain dormant.
  • Rehabilitation begins once the healing process is over. The initial period includes light movements, followed by gentle stretching activity. As the flexibility improves, the intensity of the workout also increases until the person reaches the stage of normalcy.
Treatment of chest pain varies according to the reason that caused it. Therefore, irrespective of the severity of the pain, one must consult a physician, who would analyze the symptoms, conduct various tests and scans, and then come up with the appropriate diagnosis and relevant treatment for this condition.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.