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  1. #1
    currently cutting Cheese3216's Avatar
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    Anybody have experience with a torn/strained intercostal muscle?

    My diagnosis was done by a doctor.

    I think It's from deadlifting.

    The pain gradually became worse day by day because I made the mistake of continuing to lift hard... For like two weeks!

    The pain became unbearable.

    So I took 2 weeks off lifting.

    Made another stupid mistake; I thought that I was okay enough to lift again. After two weeks I decided to bench, and it became just as bad as when I first started.

    My plan is little to NO physical activity until complete recovery with a SLIGHT caloric deficit and lower carbs. I would rather lose LBM than gain fat, because the LBM will come back fast but I can't lose fat if I'm trying to gain LBM.

    Has this happened to any of you before? How long did your recovery take? Any tips for me?

    (By the way, don't tell me to go to the doctor because I already went! I'm looking for feedback from actual BBers!)

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Registered User acrawlingchaos's Avatar
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    I had of case of costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the intercostal muscles. The pain can be described as heart attack like, with the difference being that costochondritis is palpable. It's an overuse injury and took me about 8 weeks to feel better, but for a while I had acute flare ups (months).
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  3. #3
    currently cutting Cheese3216's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by acrawlingchaos View Post
    I had of case of costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the intercostal muscles. The pain can be described as heart attack like, with the difference being that costochondritis is palpable. It's an overuse injury and took me about 8 weeks to feel better, but for a while I had acute flare ups (months).
    wow that sucks. must have been a hard 2 months. i hope i can lift within 2 months...
    i want to lift so badly. i cant wait. well, i can wait.. but you get the point

    how did you get back into lifting? did you have to strengthen your intercostals first?

    this really sucks. i lost about 10lbs already. not sure of the muscle/fat ratio of that loss because i cant gauge my strength.. cant lift at all...

    so... i started collecting supps in the meantime lol...
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  4. #4
    Registered User acrawlingchaos's Avatar
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    I was never lifting at the time. I was in the army and it was caused by excessive pushups. I was concerned about it at the time, because eventually the army was gonna make me move again.


    I wouldn't avoid lifting. If there are things you can do that don't hurt, do them. You can also just do the basic big three with just a bar to help build a mind muscle connection and improve form.
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  5. #5
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    If it's very painful after 4 weeks it's likely to be a costochondral fracture
    An intercostal muscle tear is like any other muscle tear in that it will heal significantly within a week but can be aggravated by further tension on the muscle. It wouldn't usually be classified as severe pain
    Severe pain is likely to be the result of a fracture - that will give you a very sharp pain with any movement that involves the chest wall and will be very noticeable if you sneeze or cough.
    A fracture can occur either in the body of a rib, usually as a result of a direct hit - like a collision at football, or the dropping of a weight on your chest, or alternatively at the junction of the bone and the cartilage in one of the lower ribs. This is the type of injury you get when your obliques and serratus contract very strongly against a chest wall that is fixed in expiration (holding your breath during a heavy deadliest or press)
    The pain is due to the ends of the rib, or the ends of the rib and the costal cartilage rubbing together. This sets up an inflammatory process that can become chronic.
    You should be able to push on the rib at the sore point, and feel it move away slightly or 'click' under your finger tips

    I had this happen 6 weeks ago during an 800lb leg press. I felt the rib 'pop' and I was in agony the next day. Of course I got a cold and was sneezing and could hardly move.
    I spoke to a friend of mine who is a thoracic surgeon. He started me on a course of oral prednisolone 25mg for 5 days along with NSAIDs, the idea being to completely disrupt the inflammatory cycle. The pain settled totally after two weeks and I've been back to heavy lifting
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  6. #6
    Registered User edenbar's Avatar
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    pls help..

    Originally Posted by acrawlingchaos View Post
    I had of case of costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the intercostal muscles. The pain can be described as heart attack like, with the difference being that costochondritis is palpable. It's an overuse injury and took me about 8 weeks to feel better, but for a while I had acute flare ups (months).
    Did it go away the costo ??? Nothing hekp for it..how do you manage it???
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  7. #7
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    I posted something similar to this a few weeks back. From deadlifting I hurt myself the same way. It was under my armpit between the ribs and sore to touch the intercostal muscles. Basically where my lower outer lat ties in. I took 3 weeks off deadlifting and went back to them last week and all is good. Sounds a lot like mine, but I could still do all other lifts except deads
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  8. #8
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    Either straining or tearing an intercostal muscle or having costochondritus can be extremely painful. I tore my intercostal muscles years back and as described, it felt like I was having a heart attack. Hard to breathe, even stretching slightly hurt. A lot.

    The only solution for me was not to do any stretching type moves i.e. pullovers. Went light on all my exercises for about three weeks, and gradually it cleared up. But it can take anywhere from three to eight weeks to fully go away and sometimes longer. Just use caution, cut back on the weights, and gradually build up again.
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  9. #9
    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Old thread bump, but good info. (especially Fitt's advice)

    I have done this several times and was extremely painful both times. The initial pain was not too bad but you know you did something wrong. Pain settles in about 6 hours later and even a cough will make you want to drop to your knees.

    The one thing that is unmistakable with any muscle tear I have ever had, (and I have torn several including a significant hamstring tear) is the sound you hear when it happens. It makes a distinct 'POP' when it happens that can easily be heard and felt through the body.

    Rest. Ice first 24 hrs with NSAIDS, then stretching and massaging as it heals to minimize scar tissue. Took me about 4-5 weeks till I could go full bore again (on the intercostal pull).
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  10. #10
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    I think this may be what I strained on a static hold attempt a few weeks back. It hurt in the chest area, but other than a heavier rack pull nothing really seemed to aggravate it. I could bench and board press, etc without it hurting worse. Was really stiff and sore waking up in the morning. Took a week off from lifting and it is pretty much gone.
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  11. #11
    Registered User KittyJoy's Avatar
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    Cold Laser will decrease pain and speed healing. Also useful pre and post workout

    I hear you. Have you tried cold lasers? The most effective method I know of is cold laser applied directly to the injury. Cold Laser substantially decreases pain and speeds healing. Useful pre and post workout for preventing injuries, too. Some gyms have trainers or physical therapists outfitted with hand held devices for this purpose. Look into it and see if your gym has one. I use a THOR laser, but it's just my preference. Many good ones out there.

    Originally Posted by Cheese3216 View Post
    My diagnosis was done by a doctor.

    I think It's from deadlifting.

    The pain gradually became worse day by day because I made the mistake of continuing to lift hard... For like two weeks!

    The pain became unbearable.

    So I took 2 weeks off lifting.

    Made another stupid mistake; I thought that I was okay enough to lift again. After two weeks I decided to bench, and it became just as bad as when I first started.

    My plan is little to NO physical activity until complete recovery with a SLIGHT caloric deficit and lower carbs. I would rather lose LBM than gain fat, because the LBM will come back fast but I can't lose fat if I'm trying to gain LBM.

    Has this happened to any of you before? How long did your recovery take? Any tips for me?

    (By the way, don't tell me to go to the doctor because I already went! I'm looking for feedback from actual BBers!)

    Thanks!
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