T Nation

Possible Pectoral Tear or Strain?

Hi everyone, ive been experiencing pain in my left chest/pectoral region. Ive been lifting on and off for approximately the past ten years with a varying degree of intensity, lifting styles and consistantcey. However, i am the type to completely fatigue and really burn out the muscle im working everytime i step into the gym. So for the past 9 months i transitioned from my usual low volume, 3 day a week, full body routine to a split routine with very high volume. Pretty much the Pentetentary style, superset everything very little rest, often run 4-5 exercises in a string before taking a brief rest (maybe 30 seconds).

So About 3 weeks ago i woke up with a slight pain in my left pec, almost completely on top of my sternum. Sorta felt like someone was pushing on my chest with a finger. As the days went on, i didnt know if it was my heart, the start of a respiratory infection or what. Very dull. I noticed as time went on that certain flexes and exercises (bench & pull ups) in that pec would trigger a sharper feeling in the pain spot. Not painful by any means just some uncomfortable tension in that area, sorta like a good soreness the day after a good lift.

So ive been just keeping on as normal, however evertime i notice i do any chest work, ESPECIALLY flat bench, which i dont go too heavy on, the left pec fatigues and experiences and incredible burn way faster and to a higher degree than the right pec. To the point that after i rack the bar, a slight stretch before getting of the bench hurts like hell. Now i lifted for chest and back yesterday, and for 1. i could barely get through the workout. 2. i couldnt lift more than my warm up weight and the pain has gotten worse and progressively moved from the sternum, to across the whole pec, and now with a pretty sharp pain predominately in the connective area at the armpit.

I dont have bruising or and sort of indentation, however i am fearful of a pectoral tear. Perhaps a minor tear or strain? On the verge of a full blown tear? I dont really know. I have full movement and the whole left pec (especially at the armpit) feels very sore with most of the pain now at the armpit/connective area. Much more than the right.

So basically im just looking for some input as to what you guys may think it is or what i should do? Im really trying to avoid the unnecessary string of MRI’s and 30 trips to the doctor for something that may go away with a little rest. I am going to completely lay off any lifting until this feels better… Maybe hit up some more cardio at best if it starts to feel better, but im feeling like im on the verge of another serious injury… No Bueon! Any input and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

[quote]mkgrff254 wrote:
Hi everyone, ive been experiencing pain in my left chest/pectoral region. Ive been lifting on and off for approximately the past ten years with a varying degree of intensity, lifting styles and consistantcey. However, i am the type to completely fatigue and really burn out the muscle im working everytime i step into the gym. So for the past 9 months i transitioned from my usual low volume, 3 day a week, full body routine to a split routine with very high volume. Pretty much the Pentetentary style, superset everything very little rest, often run 4-5 exercises in a string before taking a brief rest (maybe 30 seconds).

So About 3 weeks ago i woke up with a slight pain in my left pec, almost completely on top of my sternum. Sorta felt like someone was pushing on my chest with a finger. As the days went on, i didnt know if it was my heart, the start of a respiratory infection or what. Very dull. I noticed as time went on that certain flexes and exercises (bench & pull ups) in that pec would trigger a sharper feeling in the pain spot. Not painful by any means just some uncomfortable tension in that area, sorta like a good soreness the day after a good lift.

So ive been just keeping on as normal, however evertime i notice i do any chest work, ESPECIALLY flat bench, which i dont go too heavy on, the left pec fatigues and experiences and incredible burn way faster and to a higher degree than the right pec. To the point that after i rack the bar, a slight stretch before getting of the bench hurts like hell. Now i lifted for chest and back yesterday, and for 1. i could barely get through the workout. 2. i couldnt lift more than my warm up weight and the pain has gotten worse and progressively moved from the sternum, to across the whole pec, and now with a pretty sharp pain predominately in the connective area at the armpit.

I dont have bruising or and sort of indentation, however i am fearful of a pectoral tear. Perhaps a minor tear or strain? On the verge of a full blown tear? I dont really know. I have full movement and the whole left pec (especially at the armpit) feels very sore with most of the pain now at the armpit/connective area. Much more than the right.

So basically im just looking for some input as to what you guys may think it is or what i should do? Im really trying to avoid the unnecessary string of MRI’s and 30 trips to the doctor for something that may go away with a little rest. I am going to completely lay off any lifting until this feels better… Maybe hit up some more cardio at best if it starts to feel better, but im feeling like im on the verge of another serious injury… No Bueon! Any input and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.[/quote]

get rid of benching for 6 to 8 weeks, begin with light range of motion movements and very very light pec deck to promote blood flow to tissues. Not likely a full blown pec tear without bruising or indentation but keep in mind full pec tears need repaired within 2 to 3 weeks after occurring or surgery becomes very complicated. Would recommend seeing a quality sports physio or sports PCP to double check.

[quote]BHOLL wrote:

[quote]mkgrff254 wrote:
Hi everyone, ive been experiencing pain in my left chest/pectoral region. Ive been lifting on and off for approximately the past ten years with a varying degree of intensity, lifting styles and consistantcey. However, i am the type to completely fatigue and really burn out the muscle im working everytime i step into the gym. So for the past 9 months i transitioned from my usual low volume, 3 day a week, full body routine to a split routine with very high volume. Pretty much the Pentetentary style, superset everything very little rest, often run 4-5 exercises in a string before taking a brief rest (maybe 30 seconds).

So About 3 weeks ago i woke up with a slight pain in my left pec, almost completely on top of my sternum. Sorta felt like someone was pushing on my chest with a finger. As the days went on, i didnt know if it was my heart, the start of a respiratory infection or what. Very dull. I noticed as time went on that certain flexes and exercises (bench & pull ups) in that pec would trigger a sharper feeling in the pain spot. Not painful by any means just some uncomfortable tension in that area, sorta like a good soreness the day after a good lift.

So ive been just keeping on as normal, however evertime i notice i do any chest work, ESPECIALLY flat bench, which i dont go too heavy on, the left pec fatigues and experiences and incredible burn way faster and to a higher degree than the right pec. To the point that after i rack the bar, a slight stretch before getting of the bench hurts like hell. Now i lifted for chest and back yesterday, and for 1. i could barely get through the workout. 2. i couldnt lift more than my warm up weight and the pain has gotten worse and progressively moved from the sternum, to across the whole pec, and now with a pretty sharp pain predominately in the connective area at the armpit.

I dont have bruising or and sort of indentation, however i am fearful of a pectoral tear. Perhaps a minor tear or strain? On the verge of a full blown tear? I dont really know. I have full movement and the whole left pec (especially at the armpit) feels very sore with most of the pain now at the armpit/connective area. Much more than the right.

So basically im just looking for some input as to what you guys may think it is or what i should do? Im really trying to avoid the unnecessary string of MRI’s and 30 trips to the doctor for something that may go away with a little rest. I am going to completely lay off any lifting until this feels better… Maybe hit up some more cardio at best if it starts to feel better, but im feeling like im on the verge of another serious injury… No Bueon! Any input and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.[/quote]

get rid of benching for 6 to 8 weeks, begin with light range of motion movements and very very light pec deck to promote blood flow to tissues. Not likely a full blown pec tear without bruising or indentation but keep in mind full pec tears need repaired within 2 to 3 weeks after occurring or surgery becomes very complicated. Would recommend seeing a quality sports physio or sports PCP to double check. [/quote]

Good advice!

The only way to know is an MRI. If I understand you correctly, the original pain was at the pectoral point of origin, along the sternal portion? The good new on that is it is very uncommon for that part of the pectoral to tear.

As BHOLL said, take some time off. If you had a complete tear at the point of insertion, you’d know it. It happened to me and I know it rupture before the bar hit my chest.

Thanks for the response guys, much appreciated. So a few hours after that post i decided just to be on the safe side and go see the orthopedist. (hate seeing the doctors and avoid it at all cost, but this shit hurts) I explained to him the above. He moved my arms in a few positions and examined the area and determined its def NOT a full pectoral tear. Said its likely just a bad strain with tissue damage and recommended taking AT LEAST three weeks off from all upper body training.( Prob going to give it a full two months).

Doc said the area was pretty badly inflamed and I was also given some prescription NSAID to take for a week. He also took me out of work for the next 7 days as well. The doc said it should at the very least start to feel better within a week and if not hes going to order an MRI. So i guess all in all i just need to heed the docs advice and get some rest and maybe light cardio in for the next few weeks. Injuries suck, but i guess its well deserved for not listening to my body. At least there was some damage control and it wasnt a full tear lol. Thanks again for the advice.

[quote]mkgrff254 wrote:
Thanks for the response guys, much appreciated. So a few hours after that post i decided just to be on the safe side and go see the orthopedist. (hate seeing the doctors and avoid it at all cost, but this shit hurts) I explained to him the above. He moved my arms in a few positions and examined the area and determined its def NOT a full pectoral tear. Said its likely just a bad strain with tissue damage and recommended taking AT LEAST three weeks off from all upper body training.( Prob going to give it a full two months).

Doc said the area was pretty badly inflamed and I was also given some prescription NSAID to take for a week. He also took me out of work for the next 7 days as well. The doc said it should at the very least start to feel better within a week and if not hes going to order an MRI. So i guess all in all i just need to heed the docs advice and get some rest and maybe light cardio in for the next few weeks. Injuries suck, but i guess its well deserved for not listening to my body. At least there was some damage control and it wasnt a full tear lol. Thanks again for the advice. [/quote]

Take care of it and ice it! I have a thread on what I am currently going through. Check out the pics and you will not touch a weight until you’re healed.