Weightlifting & Exercise/Pulled pec?


Hi I think I pulled my pectoral muscle at the gym the other day. I had been bench pressing then did some butterfly sit ups and when I pulled my arms above my head I felt a cramping and pulling sesnation from my arm pit to right above my right breast. Several days later I still have the pain there though it has drastically reduced, but now I also have pain that radiates to a particular spot on the top of my right chest and the back of my right shoulder blade and it makes my right arm feel kind of numb. It hurts to bend, twist, sneeze, cough, and breathe deeply and I feel it mostly in my back around the bottom medial side of my right shoulder blade toward the spine. Is this all from a pulled pectoral muscle or did I do something else as well? I had a shoulder release done yesterday during a sports massage and that got rid of the knots in my shoulder and neck, but the stabbing pain still persists even with bio freeze and ibuprophin around the clock. I tried moist heat and that made it worse.


First off forget the heat and use ice/cold compress on the area of pain and inflammation, heat usually is best the first several hours after an incident. The exercise you were doing utilizes several muscles so it is hard to say which exercise (bench-press or butterfly sit-ups) are to blame. You may have strained the muscle(s)where they attach near one another (the deltoid-pectoral groove) on the front of the shoulder. That would make sense if you have pain radiating from your armpit to your breast. As far as the pain radiating from your chest to your shoulder blade, you may have tweaked your sternocleidomastoid muscle. Tuck your chin at a 45 degree angle to both shoulders? If you feel pain, than that is at least one of the muscles that is strained. You can stretch this muscle by moving your head in the manner I just explained, but next take the palm of your hand and gently push from the top-back part of your head towards the shoulder where you feel the tenderness. At the same time push your head against your hand as if trying to resist your head being pushed, this is a form of isometrics.
From what you described, I don not see any reason to worry. Ice on and for 20 minutes or so as needed and do some light (very light, until you feel a pull) stretching of the affected muscles. As long as you do not feel a dull, achy pain (usually signifies nerve issue such as one might feel with carpal tunnel or sciatica)you should come around in a few days, perhaps a week. You can have you massage therapist (or do your self) some light massage of the affected muscles. You don't want deep tissue, you want Swedish technique to get blood flow to the muscle to facilitate healing. Cas, try what I recommended and if any issues arise or you have any more questions, write back and I will do my best to help you or advise you as how to proceed. Thank you for your question and I wish you a speedy recovery. Godspeed!.


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Greg Hoppe


I can answer questions on proper exercise technique, starting as well as growing in attaining your fitness goals and questions regrading how the human body works from an exercise physiology standpoint. I can assist with any questions regarding anatomy & physiology, stretching and rehabilitation. I am also extremely well versed and experienced in martial arts, self-defense and massage therapy.


I have a B.S in Physical Education and a Black Belt in an eclectic martial art. I am also a certified Fitness Therapist through ISSA and a massage therapist. I can assist with questions regarding hiring a health and wellness professional as well as growing and succeeding in the field for those already working in it.

ISSA, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

B.S. in Physical education, Black Belt, ISSA certfified Fitness Therapist.

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