When the fibrous tissue of the pectoral muscle tears, it often causes excruciating pain. Lifting up the arms can become difficult. However, do you wonder where is the pectoral muscle exactly located? The pectoral muscle is also known as chest muscle, is located in the chest wall, or to be more precise, in the front portion of the chest area. In women, it is located under the breast. The pectoral muscle is larger in males who regularly exercise. The muscle assists in upper arm movement, hence pectoral muscle injury can hamper the movements of the arm as well as the shoulders. The injury is often seen in men, as they want to increase the size of the muscle. The pain in left pectoral muscle can be caused due to variety of reasons.
Causes of this Pain
If a person lifts weights on a regular basis, he has higher chances of pulling or straining the pectoral muscles. This can result in pain in the pectoral muscle, which is sometimes also known as chest pain. If pectoral exercises are not done correctly, it can also cause pain in pectoral muscle. In fact, overdoing pectoral muscle exercises, or doing these exercises incorrectly are the most common causes of pectoral pain. Playing high contact sports like football, soccer, hockey is also able to strain the pectoral muscle. Strain is one of the most probable cause of pain in the pectoral muscle. Strain can also be caused when the muscle is torn, because it was stretched beyond its elasticity capacity. Many a time, a person who suffers from pectoral injury may not understand that he has muscle strain or tear until after he has relaxed and the level of adrenaline has come down. When you notice a pectoral muscle pull or strain, there will be bruising or even swelling accompanying the pain. Movement of the arm can become difficult, but the situation is seldom serious.
Pain in the pectoral muscle can also be due to tear, when the tissues of the muscle rupture. Torn muscle fibers are very painful and the signs of a torn muscle tissue include pain with bruising, swelling and a burning sensation. A torn muscle often times makes a popping sound when the muscle is exercised or it may burn profusely.
As it is rightly said, prevention is better than cure. Hence, before working out it is vital that you warm your body well. Stretching the muscles is equally important. Only after you have sufficiently warmed and stretched should you start with lifting weights. If you are into contact sports, again warm up is important.
When you want to treat pain in the chest region, it is important to avoid any movement associated with the arm and rest the muscle as much as possible. Do not work out till you are sure that the muscle has completely healed itself, else chances are high that the injury can aggravate. If the injury aggravates, you may have to undergo a surgery. Increasing the amount of protein consumption is recommended, as it will help in healing the injured muscle tissue.
If you notice swelling, and the pain is unbearable, you can opt to take over-the-counter medicines to relieve yourself of the condition. These medicines will decrease the inflammation. However, make sure that the muscle has healed itself before you get back to your workout routine. Place an icepack in a towel and then apply the same on the affected area. Leave the ice pack for 12 to 20 minutes and then apply a warm compress. This will increase blood supply to the affected area.
Exercises for Muscle Pain
Practicing some simple pectoral exercises often helps in relieving muscle pain in the pectoral region. Doing simple stretching exercises a few times is what is necessary.
✔ Shoulder Rolls
Stand straight with both your hands hanging next to your thighs. Slowly start rotating the shoulder clockwise and complete 5 to 7 rotations. After these rotations, start rotating the shoulder anti-clockwise again for 5 to 7 rotations. When you start doing the rolls, you may experience a slight pain in the pectoral region, yet you can continue to do the exercise. Only if the pain is excruciating, then stop doing the exercise immediately.
✔ Swiss Ball Stretch
This is a simple exercise, which can be performed easily by most of us. As the name of the exercise suggests, you will need an exercise ball for the same. Place the Swiss ball in such a way, so that it will not slide from its original place. It is preferable, if you could place the ball close to a wall, but not sticking to the wall. Lie with your back on the ball and try to let your hands hang down from the ball. Stay in the position for a while and then slowly come out of stretch.
✔ Pectoral Stretch
Another simple exercise that can be practices at any time. Stand straight with your hands placed on your thighs. Slowly lift the right hand till, it is at shoulder height with the palm facing the floor. Hold for a couple of seconds, before you release and repeat the same on the other side as well. Repeat the same 5 to 7 times on both the sides.
If the home remedies do not provide relief from pectoral muscle pain, you will have to get in touch with your health care professional. The doctor will be able to assess the wear and tear and accordingly recommend medication or therapy. If the condition is severe, then surgery may be recommended. However, understand that the rehabilitation is often a lengthy and painful process.