Chest Pain When I Stretch
What Is a Strained Chest Muscle? – A strained chest muscle occurs when you tear or stretch a muscle in your chest. This is also known as a pulled muscle or muscle strain, or more specifically, an intercostal muscle strain. When a chest muscle becomes strained, it can cause a sudden, sharp pain that radiates throughout the chest area.
- 0.1 Why does my chest hurt when I stretch or take deep breaths?
- 0.2 Why does my chest feel tight when I stretch?
- 0.3 How can you tell if chest pain is muscular?
- 1 Why does my sternum hurt when I stretch?
- 2 Why do I get chest pain when I yawn?
- 3 How long should muscular chest pain last?
- 4 Can poor posture cause chest pain?
Why does my chest hurt when I stretch or take deep breaths?
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We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness. In most cases, a strained chest muscle can be treated at home. However, it’s important to know when to call your doctor if it does happen. Overview A strained or pulled chest muscle may cause a sharp pain in your chest.
A muscle strain or pull happens when your muscle is stretched or torn. Up to 49 percent of chest pain comes from what’s called intercostal muscle strain, There are three layers of intercostal muscles in your chest. These muscles are responsible for helping you breathe and for stabilizing your upper body.
Classic symptoms of strain in the chest muscle include:
pain, which may be sharp (an acute pull) or dull (a chronic strain) swelling muscle spasms difficulty moving the affected area pain while breathing bruising
Seek medical attention if your pain happens suddenly while you’re engaged in strenuous exercise or activity. Go to the emergency room or call your local emergency services if your pain is accompanied by:
faintingdizzinesssweatingracing pulsedifficulty breathingirritabilityfeversleepiness
These are signs of more serious issues, like heart attack, Chest wall pain that is caused by a strained or pulled muscle often happens as a result of overuse. You may have lifted something heavy or injured yourself playing sports. For example, gymnastics, rowing, tennis, and golf all involve repetitive motion and may cause chronic strains. Other activities that may cause strain are:
reaching your arms above your head for long periods of time contact injuries from sports, car accidents, or other situations lifting while twisting your body falling skipping warm-ups before activity poor flexibility or athletic conditioning muscle fatigue injury from malfunctioning equipment (broken weight machine, for example)
Certain illnesses may also cause muscle strain in the chest. If you’ve recently had a chest cold or bronchitis, it’s possible you may have pulled a muscle while coughing. Anyone can experience chest muscle strain:
Older individuals are at higher risk of experiencing chest wall injuries from falls.Adults may be more likely to develop chest pulls or injuries as a result of car accidents or athletic activities.Children are the lowest risk group for chest muscle injuries.
If you’re concerned about your chest pain, or unsure if it’s a pulled muscle or something else, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, your health history, and any activities that may have contributed to your pain. Muscle strain is categorized as either acute or chronic:
Acute strains result from injuries sustained immediately after direct trauma, such as a fall or car accident. Chronic strains result from longer-term activities, like repetitive motions used in sports or certain job tasks.
From there, strains are graded according to severity:
Grade 1 describes mild damage to less than five percent of muscle fibers. Grade 2 indicates more damage: the muscle isn’t fully ruptured, but there is a loss of strength and mobility. Grade 3 describes a complete muscle rupture, which sometimes requires surgery.
In some cases, your doctor may order tests to rule out heart attack, bone fractures, and other issues. Tests may include:
X-ray magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) electrocardiogram (ECG)
Other possible causes of chest pain include:
bruising as a result of injury anxiety attacks peptic ulcers digestive upset, like esophageal reflux pericarditis
More serious possibilities include:
reduced flow of blood to your heart ( angina ) blood clot in the pulmonary artery of your lung ( pulmonary embolism ) tear in your aorta ( aortic dissection )
First-line treatment for mild chest muscle strains involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE):
Rest, Stop activity as soon as you notice pain. You may resume light activity two days after injury, but stop if pain returns. Ice, Apply ice or a cold pack to the affected area for 20 minutes up to three times a day. Compression, Consider wrapping any areas of inflammation with an elastic bandage but don’t wrap too tightly as it may impair circulation. Elevation, Keep your chest elevated, especially at night, Sleeping in a recliner may help.
With home treatment, your symptoms from mild pulls should subside in a few weeks, While you wait, you may take pain relievers to reduce your discomfort and inflammation, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you have chronic strain, you may benefit from physical therapy and exercises to correct muscle imbalances that contribute to strain.
In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to repair torn muscles. If your pain or other symptoms aren’t going away with home treatment, make an appointment to see your doctor. You should avoid strenuous exercise, like heavy lifting, while you’re in recovery. As your pain lessens, you may slowly return to your previous sports and activities.
Pay attention to any discomfort or other symptoms you experience and rest when necessary. Your recovery time depends on the severity of your strain. Mild pulls may heal as soon as two or three weeks after injury. More serious strains can take months to heal, especially if you’ve had surgery.
Follow any specific instructions your doctor gives you for the best results. Trying to do too much too soon may aggravate or worsen your injury. Listening to your body is key. Complications from chest injuries may affect your breathing. If your strain makes breathing difficult or keeps you from breathing deeply, you may be at risk of developing a lung infection,
Your doctor may be able to suggest breathing exercises to help. Most chest muscle strains can be treated at home, If your pain doesn’t get better with RICE, or if it gets worse, call your doctor. To prevent chest muscle strain:
Warm up before exercising and cool down afterward. Cold muscles are more vulnerable to strain. Take care when engaged in activities where you’re at risk of falling or other injury. Use handrails when going up or down stairs, avoid walking on slippery surfaces, and check athletic equipment before using. Pay attention to your body and take days off from exercise as necessary. Tired muscles are more susceptible to strain. Lift heavy objects carefully. Enlist help for particularly weighty jobs. Carry heavy backpacks on both shoulders, not on the side. Consider physical therapy for chronic strains. Eat well and exercise. Doing so may help you maintain a healthy weight and good athletic conditioning to lower your risk of strain.
Why does my chest feel tight when I stretch?
Tightness in the chest can be caused by multiple issues. Reasons include infection, injury, anxiety, cardiovascular conditions, lung conditions, and digestive issues. If you feel like your chest is tightening, you may worry that you’re having a heart attack.
How can you tell if chest pain is muscular?
Does the pain change while taking a deep breath or exhaling? Cardiac Cardiac pain does not change during deep breathing. Muscular Deep breathing can cause sharp, shooting pain (if the discomfort starts in the muscle).
Why does my sternum hurt when I stretch?
Pain in your sternum, or breastbone, may be caused by a number of things, including inflammation, a joint or collarbone injury, and acid reflux. Pain in your sternum may also happen with a heart attack, but this is more likely if you’re over the age of 40 and have heart disease.
Your sternum, or breastbone, connects the two sides of your rib cage together. It sits in front of many major organs located in your chest and gut, including your heart, lungs, and stomach. As a result, many conditions that don’t necessarily have anything to do with your sternum may cause pain in your sternum and the surrounding area.
Your first reaction to chest pain, especially severe or consistent chest pain, may be to think it’s a heart attack. But in many cases, chest pain has nothing to do with your heart. This is especially true if you’re under age 40 and don’t have any serious health issues or existing conditions.
Sternum pain is actually more likely caused by conditions that have to do with your muscles, your bones, or your digestive tract than with your heart or the sternum itself. Keep reading to learn the most common reasons for sternum pain and when you should see your doctor. The most common cause of sternum pain is a condition called costochondritis,
This occurs when the cartilage that connects your ribs to your sternum becomes inflamed. Symptoms of costochondritis include:
sharp pains or aches on the side of your sternum areapain or discomfort in one or more ribspain or discomfort that gets worse when you cough or breathe in deeply
Costochondritis doesn’t always have a specific cause, but it’s most often a result of a chest injury, strain from physical activity, or joint conditions like osteoarthritis, Costochondritis isn’t a serious condition and shouldn’t cause you to be concerned.
joint injurycollarbone (clavicle) injuryfracturesherniassurgery on the sternum (such as open heart surgery)
These aren’t the only musculoskeletal conditions that may make your sternum hurt, but they’re among the most common.
What does a pulled heart muscle feel like?
‘You may notice pain or tenderness along the chest, tenderness when touching the injured muscle, pain with arm movements and difficulty moving the arm,’ Chapman said. ‘There may also be bruising, swelling or muscle twitching or spasms.’ As mentioned earlier, this pain may be confused with a heart attack.
Why do I get chest pain when I yawn?
Heart problems—If yawning excessively is accompanied by chest pain or an irregular heartbeat, it could be a sign of a heart condition. Stroke—Sudden, severe yawning could be a warning sign of an impending stroke.
What causes chest pain that feels like a pulled muscle?
Pleuritis – Pleuritis, or pleurisy, refers to inflammation of the lining of the lungs. A bacterial or viral infection is the most common cause. Pleuritis can cause pain that feels like a pulled chest muscle. It is generally sharp, sudden, and increases in severity when taking a breath.
How long should muscular chest pain last?
How long can a muscle strain in the chest last? – This depends on the severity of the strain. If your strain is mild, expect it to resolve within a few days or weeks. Severe strains can take 2 months or longer to heal. If your chest pain sticks around for more than twelve weeks, it’s considered chronic and may be resulting from long-term activities and repetitive motions.
Is costochondritis serious?
Is costochondritis life-threatening? – No, costochondritis isn’t life-threatening. It’s common for the chest pain to be misinterpreted as a heart attack. But costochondritis is not fatal. Treatments are available to help you heal from this condition.
When I stretch my chest it cracks?
Muscle spasms – Almost any muscle in the body can spasm. If spasms occur in the muscles surrounding the chest, back, and shoulders, they may cause the joints and other tissues in the area to shift. This can lead to the sternum popping or crackling. If popping and pain occur with a muscle spasm, it is likely that the spasm is causing these symptoms.
Can poor posture cause chest pain?
Posture and the Respiratory System – Another kind of chest pain can result from poor posture: pain in the lungs. This is because posture has an impact on the way we breathe, namely moving us away from belly breathing and towards a more chest-focused breathing pattern.
- The proper way of breathing, belly breathing, pulls down on the diaphragm (the muscle between your chest and stomach) in order to pull air into the lungs.
- This fully inflates the lungs, allowing in as much air as possible to fully oxygenate the system.
- When you breathe from the chest, you are relying on the weaker secondary muscles in your neck and collar bone rather than the diaphragm.
This only partially inflates the lungs, causing less air to enter. A hunched or slouched posture can further compress your lungs, preventing you from getting enough air. This can cause pain in the chest, especially during any form of physical activity.
Why does my chest hurt when I breathe in deeply?
Pleurisy is inflammation of the sheet-like layers that cover the lungs (the pleura). The most common symptom of pleurisy is a sharp chest pain when breathing deeply. Sometimes the pain is also felt in the shoulder. The pain may be worse when you cough, sneeze or move around, and it may be relieved by taking shallow breaths.
Why do I have tight pain in my chest when I breathe?
Chest pain and heart problems – The most common heart problems that cause chest pain include:
pericarditis – which usually causes a sudden, sharp, stabbing pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or lie down angina or a heart attack – which have similar symptoms but a heart attack is life-threatening
You’re more likely to have heart problems if you’re older or know you’re at risk of coronary heart disease, For example, if you:
smokeare very overweight (obese) have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol have a history of heart attacks or angina in family members under 60 years old
Page last reviewed: 14 August 2020 Next review due: 14 August 2023