Betrand Berry pectoral muscle – how to treat a torn pectoral muscle

pectoral-muscleBertrand Berry has played for three different NFL teams in his 8 years of NFL experience. Last week he suffered a torn pectoral muscle, which will end his season. It’s a disappointing end for Bertrand who had been having a great season so far.

A torn pectoral muscle isn’t the easiest injury in the world to deal with. The interesting thing is that it sometimes leads to an end of a career, and not just a season.

What is the pectoral muscle? The pectoral muscle is located in your chest and helps your arms and shoulders move and lift. It’s a major muscle in your chest and covers the clavicle.

What is a torn pectoral muscle? When you tear your pectoral muscle the fibers of the muscle rupture. This is extremely painful, and they are varying degrees from strain to a full tear. Bertrand has a midrange torn pectoral muscle.

What are the symptoms of a torn pectoral muscle?

  • Pain, very severe pain in the chest area
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Loss of a vertical lifting power
  • Loss of horizontal mobility

How do you tear your pectoral muscle? A majority of the injuries occur due to over work when lifting weights or other force based activities such as chopping wood. Bertrand’s injury occurred when he attempted to tackle someone. The force of the player was too much for his pectoral muscle to absorb.

How do you treat a torn pectoral muscle? Depending on the severity of the tear it may require surgery. If it doesn’t require surgery rest and treatment with ice and heat will help. Immobilizing and limiting the mobility of movement is key. When surgery is called for the surgeon will reconnect the muscle, but in most cases the muscle will never be as strong or as flexible prior to the injury. Rehabilitation with this injury is long and painful.


  1. Torn Pectoral Muscle

    I tore the pectoral muscle from the shoulder four years ago. I am now experiencing severe shoulder pain. Any recommendations for surgeons in N CA?

  2. Pec tear

    I am 14 and I tore my pec bench pressing 3 weeks ago. I have started benching with light weights. Wil this help or make it worse? Do I need surgery?

  3. I tore my pectoral muscle while bench pressing at my gym. I had all the symptoms but I was unclear of the diagnosis. After a while, I had an MRI performed and I was told that there was no tear by way of the report. I did attempt therapy and I felt that was a joke (ultrasounds, shock treatments) Needless to say, by the time I visited an orthopedic surgeon, he mentioned that there was a tear and that too much time had elapsed, hence there was nothing that he could do. In short, I am extremely weaker (which sucks), and I now I am not symmetrical in the chest area. This has to be the most depressing injury that one could ever face. I now have to live with this for life.

        1. If you can help him, maybe you can help me. I had the exact same situation: they didnt realize until it is too late to fix etc.. I know this thread is a year old but if your still there please contact me.

    1. ya im only 14 and i was at a wresting match yesterday actualy and i tried to get out from underneath a guy and he had my arm in a weird position and like i tried to turn but he pushed my arm and i think i partially tor my pec muscle it hurts like hell but ya ice helps a lot

    2. Dude dont worry im 18 years old i had the same thing that happened to you i got mri and the doctor told me i had nothing than i went to surgeon that i had a tear and it was to late but dont give right now im stronger then before i dont know if you know eddie guerrero the wrestler he had a torn pectoral too and he got big the only thing i cant do i bench press but i do other chest workout my arms are huge now so dont give up bro. you can still get big.

    3. I also tore my pectoral, while playing football. I was lucky though because it was only a partal tear. Thus I was forced to sit out for almost eight months. I regamin included: Rehab twice a day, running, and more rehab. I am back to strength now because I worked hard with my trainers. This injury didn’t cost me any money because my school provided athletic trainers to get me back into shape also because our school specializes in athletic training(Concordia University-WI.) So now I am back to beching, rowing, puling, and doing normal things again.

        1. yes men it will get better just wait about a 2 to 3 months and start lifitng weight again slowly light and then move to heavy weight i also have a torn pec and i was also depressed you can do it look wrestler like eddie guerrero undertaker edge they all had torn pectoral muscles and look how big they are and look at myself dont give up you can do it and my god bless you.

        2. Sorry to disapoint you, but only surgery will help with imlant, this is what I had 10 days ago…doing better now, but
          far far away from sigar, at least 3 more months.

    4. I think in all seriousness you should get a second opinion. I tore mine pretty bad in late november bench pressing and had surgery a few days later. if you are near northern nj try dr michael destefano in paramus. he is an orthopaedic surgeon who performed my surgery. I am doing well fortunately after a rigorous rehab but I will not lift heavy again rather I will focus on stabilizing/resistance exercises

  4. i tore my chest muscle back in 2009, i let it rest for six months then i worked it out with very light weights (ei: lifting only the bar or up to 135) i couldnt go higher then that. I dropped from 235 to 135 in my bench press. now 18 months later i tried to bench and it hurts like hell when i go to 135, i can do 10 reps but it hurts. any recommendations? is surgery needed?

    when i first tore it i couldnt even lift the bar, so i tried dunbells i couldnt lift not even 10 lbs with my left arm.

  5. I’m 35 and I tore my pec about 3 months ago. I can only guess I wasn’t warmed up or stretched out enough and it was a cold winter morning not to long after I got up at 5am. I was on 4th set benching and about 3 reps of 6 in when it happened. Hurt like hell and you could tell something was wrong since there was a noticeable difference between my left and right pecs (very swelled up) and armpit area, something was just missing on my left side. If you get heavy brusing it more than likely means you tore something and blood was let out.

    My doctor referred me to a surgeon and he verified it. He didn’t take an xray or MRI, said it wouldn’t really show much soft tissue damage. I went about 1 month before having the surgery due to scheduling conflicts. Ended up only being a partial tear and only needing 2 anchors to reattach the pec to the bone. Have a nice little scar about 2-3 inches extended up from my armpit. Went about 4-5 weeks in a sling/immobilizer 24/7. Just started physical therapy about 2 weeks ago and just working on stretching and range of motion right now, should start doing light resistance in another week or so. Abut 4-6 months expected to heal fully.

    Doctor said I could have let it heal as it was but I’d be plagued with pain and weakness. As it is he only expects it to be about 90-95% as strong as the other side.

    My recommendations are to see a surgeon if you think you have torn something sooner the better. And if you have, get surgery, again sooner the better. Things hurt more as you get older, I’m still young and I already I’m sure I will have some other shoulder, knee, and ankle issues later in life from all of the activities I used to do.

  6. i am 71 years old and was cutting limbs out of a tree and a few days later i started to have a burning pain in right side of my chest i was using a chain saw and having io strain to reach the limbs for 3 weeks now i have had extreme pain and with every pain a lot of burning worst pain ever more than 2 surgerys i have had in past i saw no mention of burning in comments on page i went to a walk in clinck a quack doctor in myrtle beach took an xray said he saw no cracked ribs gave me a wide belt to go around my chest pain pills and said it will get better can burning show it might be torn extreme? hurts worse at night what should i do? jerry

  7. Hi, looking for advice. I had a horrid tear on the right hand side of my chest about 4 months ago. My whole arm went black, but it was the chest that was sore/damaged.

    Now feels and looks like the upper pectoral muscle is missing – leaving my chest with a bit of a hollow look to it on one side

    I am guessing there is nothing I can do? But is the muscle damaged, destroyed? Or is it simply small and unformed as I haven’t been able to train it?

    Any help would be appeciated



    1. Hi mate, you muscle is small and unformed because it has retracted, torn away from the tendon, or the tendon has ruptured, either way it will require surgery to fix it, and regain your symettry, and regain your strength to near where it was before.
      If you inagine your muscle like an elastic band, when its stretche a bit, it wants to return to its original start position, because you have torn your pec, it has returned to its start position.. retracted… the longer you leave it, the harder it is for a surgeon to fix, idally the sooner the better, checking online, pec tears have been surgically repaired upto 12 months after it happened, but sooner is better. See a doctor and insist on a referral to see a surgeon.

      check this web site and watch the animated video of the sugery.

  8. Hi I have some advice for you guys.

    I tore my pectoral while doing dumbell flys on a cold winter day.

    I was perfectly warmed up and pyramiding with my sets. In retrospect I should never have gone too heavy in my last set but I did and I heard this tearing sound in the left side of my chest like someone tearing a piece of tissue paper, literally!

    My arm went dead and the dumbell came down I had to pick my left arm up from the floor and nurse it up and onto my chest with the support of my right arm and drive home with one hand switching between the gear and the steering wheel in Absolute Agony!

    My surgeon told me that surgery was not required because the muscle had not come off the bone plus a fair amount of time had lapsed which was another reason why surgery was excluded.

    I have mixed feeling on this decision. But honestly I am always wary of a Doctor who wants to perform surgery immediately and rip off his patient.

    It’s been 2 years since that injury; this is how I have healed:

    1) No weight training just body weight exerices … I could not lift a glass of water for 4 months and now I can do 20 pushups without rest but the pain is there I have to rest for a minute and then can go back to pushups. I can do pullups/chinups moderate shoulder width grip not WIDE GRIP! Which is fine Wide Grip was for building wide lats and my focus is now on functional strength and not body building or power lifting. Stay clear of “Heavy” exercises which overly tax and isolate the pecs.

    2) DIET down and focus on functional strength regimen like body weight exercises. Yes there is a loss of strength but I compensated and went on a diet and brought my bulky body weight down from 255 pounds to 170 pounds. My left arm could simply not support my bulky weight and a heavy lifting regimen. To tell you quite frankly my health is better at my new weight and being able to lift my own body weight after 2 years gives me far more satisfaction than day dreaming about benching 400 pounds. Remember focus on functional strength.

    3) Cosmetically the Hollow separation in my left Pec is not as visible due to a leaner toned physique with minimal body fat. A bulky body without a shirt on makes a Pec injury more obvious to another person. If you were not able to get surgery diet down and rehabilitate the Pectoral region with focused light weight training (machine flys) or Body Weight exercises (incline and flat pushups).

    4) Change your state of mind. Heavy Weight training is ridiculous the Human body was not designed to Lift the large amounts of weight we dream of benching squatting and deadlifting in the gym. If it wasn’t your pec it may have been the discs in your back or a knee injury or perhaps even nerve damage. Heavy weight training comes at a price your Ego may feel good but your body and your joints will suffer over time.

    Use your Mind that’s why machines were invented. You want to lift a heavy weight? Design a simple machine like a Pully and lift it. Problem solved eradicate that macho Ego and go for moderate/light exercises in the gym that can be compound exercises too. You can use a Smith Machine to Bench Press if a free weights still bother you.

    5) The journey to rehabilitation is a long and sometimes frustrating one but it can be done with light/moderate exercises reducing body mass for cosmetic benefits so your pecs look asthetic and eradication of Ego and steering clear of Gloiath weights.

    Over time you’ll find like I did that the ruptured and torn tissue will regenerate and the finger like muscles of the Pec will tie and fuse with surrounding regions of muscles. But be warned do not stress the tear by pushing for heavier weights this part is frustrating but can be done if your careful and rational and less reckless.

    Good Luck and Heal Quickly!


  9. Hi I dont workout, but my peck muscle is very sore and tender after falling from my bicycle about 6 ft straight to pavement. Breathing isnt to bad, but coughing and sneezing will bring a tear to my eye. Also sleeping is a nuisance. I havent lost mobility of my arm but doing the most basic manuevers hurts like hell. Do you think I should see a Dr, and get it checked out? I have had fractured ribs, and a seperated collar bone before and this pain isnt as bad as the ribs or collar bone. Also I have no visible bruising in the peck and armpit area.

    1. it is possible to tear a pec without ever settin foot in the gym. You can tear it in a car crash for e.g or by falling off your bike like you have.
      Impossible to say from what youve wrote if you have a tear or not, could be a strain.. 1 thing for sure is that you’ll never know if you dont get it checked out. Before you go to the doc, do some reasearch yourself on the net, signs and symptoms or a torn pec, a ruptured tendon, a strained pec etc etc.. go to the docs with some knowledge so you know your getting the right advice.. most of the time you’ll be told, rest it for 6 weeks and see how it is then. thats the worst advice if you have a tear.. but id say get it checked out.

  10. I am not a athlete like many of your comments, but read them to see it there was anthing related to mine. I hurt my shoulder/pectoral shoulder by “cleaning”. (damn) I was cleaning and lifted my son’s top bunk bed (heavy) which took 3 tries to pull it over the rail. This was approxamately 3 months ago, right shoulder pain to upper pectoral – and I am right handed which makes “resting it” difficult. The pain in the shoulder is getting better – monthly, however my upper pec that attaches to the should is always hurting. I did have a x-ray and was told nothing was torn. I am not employed at this time so I cannot get a MRI. I stretch, ibuprofen, tens, ice, anagelic creams – but it hurts to even write. I am a nurse so I am trying to do everything by myself with what I know about the anatomy. But to have it hurt when I write that is where I am confused. I am a oncology nurse not orthapetic. I can’t rest it – it is hard to rest your dominate arm. Help?

  11. I’ve seen a couple of guys diagnosed with torn pectoral muscle during my serving terms in the military. They overstrained themselves when they try to lift a heavy load and reject assistance to leave a good impression. Most of them ended up being deemed as permanently unfit for combat. You should never over-exert yourself, because this injury is pragmatically as good as a handicap.

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