Pec Tear Update 2016

Here is an update as years of healing has passed from a severe torn pectoral (Severe pectoral muscle belly)  due to flat bench dumb bell presses.  (March 2011)

As you can see in these pictures I will always carry an indentation of this horrible strain/tear. My pressing moves have diminished due to this , and over the years pressing dumb bells or bench press on flat benches are difficult and awkward. However I did gain back a lot of strength but still lacking about 20% of what I used to press. Incline presses I can still do much better and much more weight. On flat bench the muscle rolls to the middle of my chest and I defiantly feel a degree of weakness as my left side favors such. All my other weight routines have not been affected.

When this happened I went to a Sports Doctor because it is prudent to seek a treatment of this nature in the right field.  I had an MRI done to confirm that it was not a tendon tear. As far as Muscle surgeries, there were none offered that would completely heal me back to normal. So here I am still struggling but accepting that this is a fact and I am still able to lift.  I had researched and found that ART Active Release Therapy was my answer when this happened. But it was not. In fact it did nothing. It probably would if I  had a tendon tear.  However I learned too late that If I went immediately to a good message therapist, He or She could have over time worked the muscle scar tissue out and into workable muscle fibers bringing the muscle back together.  This would have not been a complete healing process.  So in other words skipping the time spent in ART and going to deep muscle massage therapy the outcome would have been better. I did do many sessions of deep muscle therapy in the tear area and it helped tremendously. However my therapist told me that if I had come in shortly after the tear they could have worked the muscle fibers closer to bind and mesh verses  the scar tissue that had built up.

I hope that anyone who has a similar tear gets an MRI and determines the best route to recovery. And  you consider therapy as soon as you can. In fact, let a muscle therapist determine when you should start sessions. It may be too soon on your injury to start. So please get a professional opinion.

Good luck and in healing.

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14 thoughts on “Pec Tear Update 2016

  1. Thanks for the excellent blog! I wish I had found this sooner. I too am suffering a pec injury, allthough not nearly as severe as yours. It still keeps me from training at all. I don’t feel much pain during the workouts, but I suffer EXTREME post workout soreness in the coming days. It feels like it is burning and it tightens a lot. Did you experience anything like this at all during your rehab? Nobody has been able to help me so far….

    Thanks! 🙂

  2. I am sorry to hear of your injury. Yes I too had the burning very early on in healing. It was there after my workouts in pressing or pull ups. Just give it time and it will subside. I take it that this is a recent injury? Go to a good massage therapist to have them work the scar tissue out. Good luck and good healing!

  3. Thanks, and thank you for getting back to me! Was the burning and soreness like an extreme DOMS that came the next day, or was it immediately following the workouts? I’m afraid this is not a recent injury. I just started getting sorer and sorer after my workouts, needed weeks to recover. Even if I didnt feel any pain during the workouts. I tried rehabing it with lighter weights, but it didnt seem to work. Massages seems to make it flare up too. I get REALLY sore and stiff the day after a massage and it feels like it is burning. I suppose it’s something of a chronic strain injury, but I have no idea how to make it go away.

    Anyway, thanks again 🙂

  4. No It was not DOMS it would set in shortly after working out. Sounds like muscle strain instead of a tear. I would recommend stretches before lifting. I would also recommend seeing a sports medicine doctor and get evaluated. It is hard to tell if you actually have a tendon tearing or a muscle strain. Sports doctors know and are specialized in your situation.

  5. Hello! I am so glad that I found this blog.

    I tore my pec about 4 years ago while in the best shape of my life and preparing for my first show. I had surgery a few months later to reattach it, but I am not sure what the surgery actually did because my pec still rolls to the middle of my chest when I flex.

    I have more of less accepted this as a reality and just now have tried to go back to heavy chest lifting. The problem is however, I can not seem to get a good chest workout. My left arm is severely weaker than the right which prevents me from getting a equal workout on both sides of the body.

    Is it even possible to train my left pec the same way that I train my right being as it is not attached the same way? What do you do to combat this problem?

    Any advice would be an amazing help because it is so difficult to find someone who has suffered the same devastating injury.

  6. I tore my pec October 18th bench pressing 355 for my one rep pr. My shoulder failed, putting the weight on just my pec causing it to tear. MRI’s show torn labrum, torn subscapula and partially torn pec minor tendon. All of that pales to the stupid torn pec major muscle. “Nothing they can do” about torn muscles. They can take a face from a dead guy and put it on a living guy, why can’t they fix a torn muscle? All my pain is around the front of the shoulder and arm pit, plus a weird cramping feeling where the muscle has rolled up in my pec. Does yours still cause pain? How do you work through such a psychologically damaging injury? My life has changed forever from that one stupid moment.

    • Yes I feel your pain. It sounds like the same exact thing as mine. It is frustrating! It has taken a few years to get back up to heavy presses but nothing like I used to do. I can keep good form on 80lb dumb bells but I can only get up to 100 . I was pressing 160 dumb bells. Anything over 80 I lose good form but can still effectively press. Free bench presses are lacking but can still do. I concur with the fact about repairing muscle tear. It should be available but my search was futile.. It will improve over time,,but yes the psychological acceptance of not getting back to what you were able to press is a fact to deal with.. Yes I had the same pain. It will go away over time, Sorry man. Its all I can say.

  7. I have been dealing with the same thing as well. I tore the sternal pectoralis muscle while surfing on Jan 2. I had found a few doctors who said they could probably repair it as long as not too much time had past. I went in for surgery on March 15 at the orthopedic institute in Van Nuys, Ca, and had been in a sling until last week. I was hopeful until recently. It is now starting to look and feel like it did before the surgery, caving it at shoulder, dull aches, and cramping up when contracted. So have started to look for any other possibilities. Thought maybe they were working on repairing muscle with stem cells or something but my google search didn’t find much. I will have a better idea if the surgery helped in a few weeks when I can start putting resistance on it.

    • Yes with all the excellent medical advancements,,seems like this could be not a problem to repair the muscle belly in itself. Like I have researched far and wide as you have, All I found is a foreign country that was trying a mesh implant for the muscle to grown and repair upon. So yes at this time we have to suffer lost strength on that side and a deformity. Very sorry to hear of this!.

  8. how long did you wait until you went & had something done about it? you were saying that if you would have went to a massage therapist earlier… how long was it after the tear that you first went to the massage therapist. i’m dealing with the same injury, the dr.’s did an ultrasound & apparantly it is a minor tear to the pec major in the muscle belly as well. I’m going to go to physio Friday for the first time. My injury became visible in the pec about 2.5 weeks ago

    • Hello,,,Sorry to hear about another of this. I waited until bruising subsided. I would visit with a LMT who is specialized in Sports Therapy.
      They have tools that work the collagen out so muscle growth would be more uniform. I did not know to do this. So I advise you to see one and get some answers for treatment. They have scraping and deep tissue tools that will work. I am seeing one now and after many years I am seeing improvements to my pec.

      Thank you for writing . And good luck!

    • Update- For my repair it was about 2 and half months after the injury that I got the surgery. It’s been a little over three months and the repair seems to have been a success. It’s hard to tell how different it would have been without surgery, but I can do pretty much everything I could before the injury related to the pectoral muscle. The only thing I can’t do yet is pull ups do to shoulder pain, not muscle pain. It still looks a little swollen over the injury but its not very noticeable.

      • You are very fortunate to have a repairable injury. Great to hear!!. Hope you make your goals without any further injuries and thank you for your update!..

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