Have you ever been at the gym and you’ve been trying to turn your peashooters into guns, but instead you strain your biceps? It happens to the best of us while we are trying to impress the girls. What can you do about a biceps strain? It turns out, there are a few things that can help.
What is the pain from?
The first thing it is important to know is if it is strained or torn. You can usually tell if it’s strained or torn by performing a bicep curl with a light amount of weight. When you bend your elbow, and flex your biceps muscle, a big and new bump will show up in the muscle if it is torn, usually nearer to the elbow. If there is no tear, it will just be sore. The second thing to know is that even if it is torn there is help, which we can talk about later. If we know it is a strain and not torn it is important to keep the muscles working.
What Can I do About It?
There are 3 exercises that are helpful to reduce the pain from a biceps strain. The first exercise is to take your gigantic 3# or 5# weight, or your grandma’s weight because it really doesn’t take much, and perform what is called an eccentric shoulder flexion. Stretch your arm out in front with the weight in your hand and your elbow straight, and lower it slowly down to your side. You only want to work one direction on this one, which is called an eccentric or a negative. The second exercise to do is a stretch on the wall. The bicep attaches in two spots, in your chest and the front of your shoulder joint. Put your arm in an L-shape at your side with your elbow up. Find a corner where you can stretch your arm back. These two exercises can help to decrease some of your irritation. The last one is also nice and easy. Again, with a lighter weight, perform a simple bicep curl. Bend and straighten your elbow to the full range, straightening all the way out as far as you can and bending all the way up as far as you can. You are trying to get those muscles working as much as you possibly can, without intense pain, so don’t use a really heavy weight.
There is help for a strained, and even a torn, biceps muscle. Try the exercises above, three sets of ten once a day to get those muscles moving. It’s OK to push into a little bit of discomfort, not a lot of pinching, not a lot of strain, and not a lot of pain, as you are forcing those muscle fibers to work a little bit.
If you try these exercises and your guns are still hurting, we’d absolutely love to hear about it. Give us a call so we can get you into the clinic and get you treated, and back into the gym without having an issue. If you perform the test and see that there is a big bump in the elbow, and you think that the biceps is torn, absolutely give us a call. We can help!
If you try these exercises and the pain is getting better and you’re seeing improvement, we absolutely want to hear that too.
– Dr. Jordan
Effectiveness of isometric exercise in the management of tendinopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials.Clifford C, Challoumas D, Paul L, Syme G, Millar NL.BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2020 Aug 4;6(1):e000760. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2020-000760. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32818059