Is My Chest Pain Muscular

A pulled or strained chest muscle, which is due to a muscle being stretched or torn, can cause sharp chest pain. In fact, nearly 50 percent of chest pain is due to intercostal muscle strain.

Symptoms of Muscular Chest Pain

The typical symptoms associated with a strained chest muscle include:

* Sharp pain (acute pull)
* Dull pain (chronic strain)
* Swelling
* Bruising
* Affected area is difficult to move
* Muscle spasms
* Painful breathing

Medical attention should be sought if the chest pain occurs suddenly while engaged in strenuous activity or exercise. If the pain is accompanied by any of the following, the patient should go to the emergency room or call an ambulance as these are symptoms of more serious conditions, like heart attacks:

* Dizziness
* Fainting
* Sweating
* Rapid heartbeat
* Trouble breathing
* Irritability
* Sleepiness
* Fever

Causes of Muscular Chest Pain

Pulled or strained muscles that cause chest pain are often due to overuse. Lifting heavy objects or an injury from playing sports could lead to muscle pulls, strains, or tears. Sports like tennis, rowing, golf, and gymnastics, all of which involve repetitive motions, can lead to chronic muscle strains.

Chest muscle strains can also occur from:

* Extending the arms over the head for prolonged periods of time
* Contact injuries or trauma from car accidents, sports, falls, equipment, or other events
* Simultaneously lifting while twisting the body
* Failing to warm-up and stretch prior to exercise or activity
* Poor physical conditioning and/or flexibility
* Muscle fatigue
* Excessive coughing (bronchitis or chest cold)


People that are concerned about their chest pain and are uncertain if it is a pulled muscle or another cause, should consult their doctor. The doctor will inquire about the symptoms, patient’s health history, and any activities that could be contributing to the chest pain.

Muscle strains are classified as being acute or chronic:

* Acute Strains: occur immediately as a result of direct trauma, such as a car accident or fall.
* Chronic Strains: caused by long-term activities such as the repetitive motions of some job tasks or in sports.

Strains are further broken down into different grades based on severity:

* Grade 1: characterized as mild damage; effects less than 5% of muscle fibers.
* Grade 2: indicative of more damage; while muscle is not fully ruptured, there are losses of mobility and strength.
* Grade 3: complete muscle rupture; may necessitate surgical intervention to repair.
In certain situations, the doctor may order additional tests to rule out cardiac events, fractured bones, or other issues. Included amongst these tests, include:
* X-rays
* Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
* Electrocardiogram (ECG)


When treating mild strains of chest muscles, the initial treatment should follow the acronym RICE:

* Rest: Cease activity as soon as pain is noticed. Light activity can be resumed two days later but should be ceased again if pain returns.
* Ice: Apply an ice pack to the area for 20 minute periods three times per day.
* Compression: Wrap the area with elastic bandage to aid inflammation.
* Elevation: Try to keep the chest elevated, particularly at night. Sleeping in a chair may be helpful.

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can also be taken to manage pain. In general, chest pain will subside within a few weeks with home treatment. Should pain be chronic, exercises and physical therapy can help address any muscle imbalances that contributed to the strain. In severe situations, surgery may be required to repair a torn muscle.

Is my chest pain serious