A chest injury needs proper treatment to heal and you'll need to know how to treat pulled chest muscle if you ever strain or pull a muscle in your chest. Playing sports, lifting heavy items, and even bending the wrong way can all cause a pulled chest muscle. Knowing what to do and when to consult a doctor will ensure you take care of yourself and allow the muscle to heal properly.
Check with your doctor to ensure it's only a pulled chest muscle and not a more serious injury. You can treat a pulled chest muscle at home, but if a more serious injury, such as a cracked rib, has occurred you'll need a doctor to look at it. It's often better to err on the side of caution and have the injury checked even if you think it's only a pulled chest muscle and nothing more.
Items You'll Need
- Ice pack
- Heat pack
- Heating pad
- Pain medication
Avoid activities that use the pulled muscle. While you may have to move it some during daily activities, limit the use as much as possible and refrain from anything that strains the pulled chest muscle. This includes lifting heavy items, pushing on heavy items, or moving around too much.
- Rest in bed for two to three days and keep activities to a minimum. Get a note from the doctor if you need to miss work due to your injury.
- Apply ice packs or heat packs to the sore area. The ice packs will reduce swelling from the pulled chest muscle and the heat packs will help with any pain or soreness you may experience. Wrap the ice pack in a towel first before placing it on your skin. Try a heating pad if you need to apply heat to the pulled chest muscle for long periods of time.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if your doctor does not prescribe medication. If your doctor does prescribe a medication, follow the instructions and do not take other medicines with it unless approved by your doctor. Doctors typically prescribe a painkiller and a muscle relaxant to help with the pain from pulled muscles. Usually these are to be taken on an as-needed basis and you can stop if the pain goes away.
- Wait two to three days, or longer if instructed by your doctor, and begin to resume light activities. Stretch the muscle several times during the day. Do not stretch to the point where the pulled chest muscle hurts, but just enough to ease some of the tension and help the muscle adjust to being used again.
- Resume light activity after two or three days of stretching. Stop if you feel pain during an activity and do not try the activity again for at least a day. Continue to increase your activity until you've built back up to your normal daily routine.
If the pain does not get better or gets worse, return to your doctor. It may be a sign of a larger underlying problem that needs to be treated to avoid damaging the pulled chest muscle even more than it already is.