Preventing, Identifying and Treating a Pectoral Injury
A pectoral injury tends to occur during certain intense sports activities. You might get a pectoral injury lifting weights, serving a tennis ball, or getting struck in the chest or shoulder area by a fastball. Sometimes it is difficult to identify pectoral injuries because the symptoms may be mild at first. Swelling and pain may only occur afterwards.
The Pectoral Muscles
Your pectorals, or “pecs,” are the muscles on your chest. Body builders will often work on developing these, but for most of us, we will not even notice them much unless we injure one of them. The pectorals are important because they connect to the arm and aid it in movement. If you play tennis, you probably know that your pectoral is crucial to a proper service motion. If you have a hitch in your serve, one of the signs may be pectoral strain.
Preventing Pectoral Injuries
The number one way to prevent pectoral injuries is to go through a proper warm-up routine before you start exerting yourself. The vast majority of all injuries in sports and other physical activities occur because of a failure on the participant’s part to properly warm-up. So before you hit the courts or the practice field, be sure to do warm-ups that properly rotate your shoulder and warm up your pectoral muscles.
The second reason for pectoral injury is improper equipment. If you play baseball or football, you should always wear the proper protective equipment. Goalies in hockey and catchers in baseball are especially vulnerable to pectoral injuries due to blunt trauma, so be sure to wear the proper padding before hitting the field.
Identifying Pectoral Injuries
Pectoral injures are one of those sneaking types of injury that can linger below the radar during game play but then come on strong once you have cooled down. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to your body’s signals not only during game play, but afterwards as well.
Sometimes you may not feel too much pain, having only a vague soreness, but you may notice swelling or redness. You should monitor this carefully and treat it appropriately so that the injury does not fester.
Treating a Pectoral Injuries
Clinicians grade the severity of a pectoral injury on a three-point scale. A mild pectoral injury involves minor discomfort but no constraint of mobility. A moderate injury involves pain, possible swelling, and discomfort that limits movement. A severe injury involves intense pain and major constraints to mobility of the arm. You should definitely see a doctor for a severe injury or for a moderate injury that does not heal in a normal time frame, such as one to two weeks.
The typical treatment for this kind of injury involves rest and ice treatment. If you identify a moderate injury after a session of physical activity, you should avoid activities that involve extreme or frequent rotation of the shoulders for a precautionary period of one to two weeks or so long as symptoms persist. You should certainly avoid the activity that injured you.
If you detect any swelling, you should treat it with rest and an ice pack at east twice daily. In moderate or severe cases, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory agents to help reduce the swelling. Take them as prescribed.
If you get any sort of unusual symptoms along with your pectoral injury, such as strained heartbeat, fever, or breathing difficulties, you should consult your doctor immediately as these could be signs of a more serious complication. In the vast majority of cases, however, pectoral injuries heal with simple rest and soon the sufferer is back on the court or field feeling as good as new.