Sharp pain that people feel in their chest, regardless of heart or lung causes, can be due to strained or pulled chest muscle. Doctors call this condition as pulled chest muscle. We get acquainted with the pulled muscle under the breast area and enumerate its features.

In the following, we will introduce you to the causes that lead to pulled muscle under the breast area and enumerate its characteristics.

There are three layers of muscle called the intercostal muscles in your chest that play an important role in your breathing. It is important to know that physicians believe that more than forty-nine percent of chest pain has nothing to do with pulmonary or cardiac causes, and that the cause of this series of pain is related to the intercostal muscle strain.


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What are the causes of pulled chest muscle?

There are reasons that provide the basis for pulled muscle under the breast area:

In general, activities that require a lot of movement in the shoulders and arms can cause strain on the muscles under the breast and cause sharp chest pain.

Following these events, you will experience a strain on the intercostal muscles that are located below the breast


Risk factors

The following groups are more likely than others to develop pulled chest muscle:

The group with the lowest risk of developing these pains are children. Children with less than the above two groups suffer from chest muscle injuries.


Symptoms of chest pulled muscle (strain in the chest muscle)

The pain can be sharp or dull

You may feel an acute stretch or you may have a chronic feeling of pulling under the breast.


What should we do to diagnose?

If you have chest pain, the best, safest and first step is to go to a well-equipped treatment center or consult your doctor. Doctors will determine the source of your intercostal muscle strain by hearing your history, examining other signs and symptoms associated with your chest pain, and ruling out vital causes such as those of cardiopulmonary origin.

Sometimes physicians use the following diagnostic methods in addition to taking a history and examining the signs and symptoms and clinical examinations:


Types of pain due to chest muscle strain

Chest muscle spasms are divided into two general groups

Occurs quickly or very soon after a fall, trauma or accident

Athletes such as tennis, golf, gymnastics, or professional dancers often develop chronic repetition of arm movements above the head. For example, people with occupations in which hand and arm movements are common are included in this group.


Chest muscle strain classification in terms of severity

Less than five muscle fibers are involved

More fibers are damaged but complete rupture has not occurred and there is still some strength and mobility

There is a complete rupture of the muscle so that sometimes it will require repair surgery.



R = rest:

You should immediately stop all activities that cause pain and aggravate the pain for a while.

After forty-eight hours, if the pain in the acute phase decreases, you can start limited movements little by little, but if the pain is still severe, you should not start the movements.

I = (ICE):

Use a cold compress to reduce inflammation. Apply a cold compress or pack three to four times on the inflamed and painful area for 20 minutes.

C = (compression):

You can wrap the painful area with an elastic band, be careful not to close too tightly.

E = (elevation):

Raise your chest above the bed to prevent further inflammation and swelling.

By observing the above points, the pain and discomfort will be relieved within one to several weeks. You can get help from ibuprofen or Advil, acetaminophen or tylenole.

If you have chronic or more severe stretching, you will often need to use physical therapy and exercise to improve the balance of the intercostal muscles in addition to the above. Sometimes in more severe cases, surgery is needed to repair it.


When to see a doctor?

Note that in the following cases, if you have chest pain, you should go to the emergency room as soon as possible:

Any of the above may indicate life-threatening conditions.

Also, if you still have pain with home care after a few weeks, you should see a doctor.