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Pulled Chest muscle recovery?
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By engineer1984
From Ogden, UT
Nov 3, 2012
Hi all,

I seem to have pulled my chest muscle (lower left pec). A dull pain appeared on Tuesday (10/30), but it felt more like I slept on it wrong. I met some friends at the gym and we did some casual climbing, nothing at our grade.

The next day (10/31) I had some sharp pains and took a half day off in search of a Chiropractor and then an Urgent Care facility. X-rays don't show any broken ribs. The next logical conclusion is that I have pulled / stressed / etc a muscle in my lower left pec area.

Have any of you been down this road before? I have been confined to my house for the past two days due to the pain although it is subsiding. I take the following pain medication: Tylenol and Aleve.

What stretches would you recommend? What type of medical care would you seek out? Chiropractor again? Do you have any thoughts as to what else it could be? I haven't received many confident prognosis.

Thanks and cheers,

Andrew

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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Nov 3, 2012
Toofast
I had a similar sounding injury about a month ago. It took a few weeks before I felt good again, but it passed. I just took it easy during the recovery period.

Of course, insert the usual disclaimers here: it's not really possible to diagnose a health problem with such limited information, etc.

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Nov 3, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
I'm no M.D. but because of the circumstances and the fact that it's a dull pain, it sounds like it could just be chondrochondritis (inflammation of cartilage). You might have strained the cartilage between your ribs during a strenuous climb with an awkward stance or pull. Good news is, with a little rest and ibuprofen, it should subside and you'll have a full recovery.

I had this in the cartilage between my rib cage and sternum a few years ago. Took a few months before it felt completely normal but I was still able to be active without too much pain. There is no trace of it now.

If it was a torn muscle, which it could be because the pain progressed to a some sharp stuff, I would say put ice on it and just keep taking it easy for a couple days and take some anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen. If it gets worse, go see a doctor!

Not sure about stretching at this point.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 3, 2012
El Chorro
Jon Zucco wrote:
I'm no M.D. but because of the circumstances and the fact that it's a dull pain, it sounds like it could just be chondrochondritis (inflammation of cartilage). You might have strained the cartilage between your ribs during a strenuous climb with an awkward stance or pull. Good news is, with a little rest and ibuprofen, it should subside and you'll have a full recovery. I had this in the cartilage between my rib cage and sternum a few years ago. Took a few months before it felt completely normal but I was still able to be active without too much pain. There is no trace of it now. If it was a torn muscle, I would say put ice on it and just keep taking it easy for a couple days and take some anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen. If it gets worse, go see a doctor!


I partially tore some cartilage between my ribs and sternum a few years ago. It took over a year to get better, but it didn't hurt very bad and never kept me from doing anything I'd normally do. In fact, it hurt the most on days when I did nothing at all.

It could be anything. If it gets worse or doesn't get better w/ a few weeks rest, then go back to the doc. In the mean time, try to stay mobile and try not to limit your range of motion too much. Don't push it, but a little pain is OK when you lift your arms over your head, etc. No heavy lifting or pushing, but don't just sit around either. Get on an exercise bike or something.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 3, 2012
El Chorro
Also, pain pills won't do anything for recovery. No reason to take them unless you're really hurting. If anything Ibuprofen is the best as it is actually an anti-inflammatory.

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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 3, 2012
The West Desert...it's not just for climbing, suck...
engineer1984 wrote:
What stretches would you recommend?

Do not stretch an acutely strained muscle! Even if it is inflammation of the costal cartilage (you didn't specify where it hurt along your pec-- origin or insertion), movement at this point will irritate it.

engineer wrote:
What type of medical care would you seek out? Chiropractor again? Do you have any thoughts as to what else it could be? I haven't received many confident prognosis. Thanks and cheers, Andrew

Why don't you see a regular primary care doc? It sounds like you did(?) and they ruled out fracture (which is good). There is not a lot of treatment to be done for strains or costal injuries other than rest, avoiding irritating movements, and RICE.

Look up information on treatment for muscle strains and/or costal cartilage injuries (look for good sources, like Mayo Clinic). Length of recovery will depend on what grade severity it is and how you take care of it now.

Also possible you have a rib out of place. Not sure that would show up on an X ray because it could be too subtle, but I have had friends suffer these things and they are quite painful. A physical therapist treated one of my friends with e-stim, moist heat, and then manipulation to get it back into place.

Btw, a "prognosis" is how your situation will turn out in the long run. Since I doubt you're gonna die or be permanently injured from this, I think you meant "diagnosis". ;)

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By engineer1984
From Ogden, UT
Nov 3, 2012
Wow, thanks for all the thoughtful responses.

I was taking pain meds because it was hurting very badly. I am not a medication sort of guy, trust me, I was in pain. When you find yourself in the fetal position, you will take whatever pain meds you can.

It is easing up a bit and I will continue to take it easy on this muscle area. It's a beautiful day here, so I will go for a hike with a really light load: camelbak, some energy bars, maybe a camera.

I did mean diagnosis : )

I'm just a bit worried seeing that my first multi-pitch climb is this next weekend (Nov 10) in Red Rocks. This has been my motivation for the past months and I have been very focused on it. Sucks that this happened.

Thanks for the advice.

Cheers,

Andrew

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By Dan Felix
Nov 4, 2012
Jon Zucco wrote:
I'm no M.D. but because of the circumstances and the fact that it's a dull pain, it sounds like it could just be chondrochondritis (inflammation of cartilage).

I'm no MD either, but I believe what you are referring to is costochondritis. I've had several instances of it and have never been officially diagnosed by a doc but after the last bout of it I figured out what it was and said something the next time I saw my primary care. She agreed the symptoms sounded like that's what I had. The last go-round was over a year ago for me and the worst case of it I've had. It lasted around a month until I started a heavy regimen of ibuprofen after I figured out what it was. Rest is good, but difficult for my line of work (I'm a landscaper). The worst time for me was in the morning right after I woke up; there was times when it was hard to breathe and a sharp stabbing pain around the kidneys almost put me to the floor. From what I remember, costochondritis occurs more frequently in women, but it isn't uncommon in men.

Good luck with the recovery, regardless of what you might have or did, it sounds like rest is best and if any OTC drugs are needed I'd stick with ibuprofen!

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Nov 4, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
Dan Felix wrote:
I'm no MD either, but I believe what you are referring to is costochondritis.


Actually, I think both terms are correct and refer to the same thing.

:)

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By engineer1984
From Ogden, UT
Nov 4, 2012
I will pick up some Ibuprofen tonight. I was hoping tonight is my first night of drug free sleep. Been using sleeping aids and pain killers for the past few nights.

Well, I'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons and reviewing summit hikes / scrambles at Red Rocks while my friends climb 'Big Bad Wolf' and other fun routes. I am starting to have a very real feeling that I will not be in climbing shape this coming Saturday.

Again thanks for the responses.

I thought of reason for the chest pains / muscle pull and it embarrassing since I haven't done this in a long time. I may have pulled Oct 26th (Halloween weekend) when I drank way too much and dry heaved all night. I started hurting the Tuesday morning after. I climbed on Tuesday thinking I just slept on it wrong... So probably a combination of those two things.

The good news is that hiking doesn't take too much chest work.

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By slim
Administrator
Nov 5, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i fell out of a roof crack at vedauwoo about a year ago (everything except my bone lock hand jam), like a bowling ball dropping onto 3 feet of chain. pretty much pulled every muscle in my chest and all the way around into my back. the first 3 weeks or so i didn't climb at all and i was pretty stiff. 4th week i did some really easy climbing. 5th and 6th week i went on a 2 week climbing trip and climbed almost every day, albeit about 2 number grades under my limit.

this seemed like it worked ok, the main point being that i slowly worked my way back up. i think i was full strength about 2 months after the incident.

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By nicelegs
From Denver
Nov 24, 2013
engineer1984 wrote:
I thought of reason for the chest pains / muscle pull and it embarrassing since I haven't done this in a long time. I may have pulled Oct 26th (Halloween weekend) when I drank way too much and dry heaved all night.


Interesting. I find that a bout of dry heaving leaves my back and chest nicely relaxed. Chronic coughing is pretty good too. For me, it's basically dynamic stretching.

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Nov 24, 2013
my foot
nicelegs wrote:
Interesting. I find that a bout of dry heaving leaves my back and chest nicely relaxed. Chronic coughing is pretty good too. For me, it's basically dynamic stretching.


so thats what the guy at the gym a while back was doing when he was coughing all over the holds the whole time he was there

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