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Much too often do we see injuries happen in the weight room, and no other is more popular or common is a tear of the pectoral muscles. If you are in a situation where you think you may have tore you pec muscle
while doing the bench press exercise for example, then the question to ask would be ... what is the best treatment and diagnosis for a bodybuilder with this injury?
For the bodybuilder a torn pectoralis major can be a devastating injury. Typically the injury occurs during the bench press. You'll experience an unmistakable, ripping or popping sensation, and as the pain hits, your damaged pectoral will swell to the size of a pumpkin, even though bruising may or may not occur. Should this unpleasant injury happen, get out from under the bar and exit the gym immediately. Damage control must be your first priority.
A pectoral injury takes one of two forms: whether the muscle rips, or the tendon snaps off the bone. A tear within the muscle belly is usually a partial injury and less severe because a portion of the muscle remains intact. On the other hand a torn tendon is usually a more severe, complete detachment, and the whole muscle is de-functioned. With respect to treatment, the key issue is whether the damage involves the tendon or the muscle belly. To make an accurate diagnosis you'll need to see a doctor as soon as possible. An MRI scan will help identify the location and severity of the injury.
When the tendon is torn from the bone, you can expect at least a 30-percent decrease in strength and a very noticeable asymmetry of the chest muscles. In this case surgical repair provides the best result. However, the downtime following surgery is long, and you will need at least three months' rest before you are able to resume upper-body workouts at the gym.
When the tear occurs within the muscle, surgical repair is not usually necessary. Most muscular tears heal spontaneously within four to six weeks without any measurable strength loss. Larger tears may leave a cosmetic defect in the muscle after the swelling has subsided. However, to suture torn muscle fibers back together again is virtually impossible. Imagine severing a horse's tail and then trying to reattach the hairs. That image will give you an idea of how technically difficult repairing muscle fibers is. If you are left with a noticeable defect you may be a candidate for a cosmetic surgical implant that restores chest symmetry.