What is Biceps Muscle Strain?
The biceps brachii muscle (comprised of the biceps long and short head muscle) are located at the front of your arm. The biceps muscle helps you bend your elbow, rotate your arm and bring your arm straight up in front of you. The biceps tendons and muscles help keep your shoulder stable and also help keep your arm centered in your shoulder socket.
The long head biceps tendon attaches to the top of the shoulder socket (glenoid) while the short head of the biceps tendon attaches to a bump on the shoulder blade called the coracoid process. On the other end of the biceps muscle, the tendon attaches to the radius bone at the elbow.
What Are The Causes of Biceps Muscle Strain?
Bicep muscle strain is caused by over-stretching or over-loading the muscle tissue in the arm. When the muscle tissue is put under too much stress the muscle fibres become damaged and tear.
A direct hit to the arm can damage the biceps muscle. Repetitive actions common in athletes or workers who use frequent overhead lifting. such as throwing a ball, swinging a racket, swimming, lifting weights, picking up an overloaded shopping bag, or completing manual labor tasks. Men are at higher risk for strains of the biceps muscle and tendon than are women. Other common causes that lead to muscle strain are natural degenerative changes to muscle fibers due to aging, an inactive lifestyle, participation in sports that cause repetitive injury to the shoulder.
What are the Symptoms of Biceps Muscle Strain?
If you are suffering biceps muscle strain your pain levels may vary depending on how mild to how severe the damage is to the muscle itself. Location of pain may be at the front of the shoulder, the middle, or at the insertion point (down below the elbow). You will probably experience an increase in pain when bringing your arm up in front of you - at shoulder level. Activities such as throwing or working overhead make your pain worse. Small blood vessels may also be damaged which can cause bruising and swelling at the point of the injury site. You may have heard a slight pop and or felt a sensation in the arm or shoulder. Left untreated, a simple biceps muscle strain can worsen and lead to biceps tendonitis.
Do you really have Biceps Muscle Strain?
Biceps Tendonitis is caused by overuse of the shoulder, arm. The biceps tendons are a strong, cord-like structures that connects the upper end of the biceps muscle to the bones in the shoulder.
If you are suffering biceps tendonitis you will have pain in the front of your shoulder, tenderness and weakness of the biceps muscles. Pain will increase as you lift arm overhead, or raise your arm in a throwing motion or pulling on something. You may have pain and a deep achiness in the shoulder that moves done the front of your arm and in some causes radiate to the hand. Sometimes a snapping sound or sensation can be felt or hear in the shoulder.
Scar tissue (adhesions) often play a role in the biceps muscle and tendon injuries. They can act like biceps tendon injury by creating pain with any movement. Scar tissue develops naturally as part of the healing process. It is the bodys quickest way to heal. The scar tissue is fibrous, brittle and weak, leading to re-injury much quicker.
Biceps Tendon Rupture is the tendon tear away from the bone. This can happen in two places of the tendon at the elbow and/or at the shoulder. You will have strength in your arm and be unable to turn your arm from palm down to palm up. Sometimes surgery is required for a rupture at the shoulder to reattach the tendon. Surgery will be required to attached the tendon if a rupture has happened, as the tendon will not reattach or heal.
A biceps muscle strain is actually tearing in the muscle issue.
Strains and Sprains: What's the Difference?
Sprains and strains are among the most common injuries in sports, professional, amateur athletes and the general public. You are more at risk for the injury if you have a history of sprains and strains, are overweight, and are in poor physical condition.
What is a strain? A strain is an injury that only happens to tendons and muscles.
What is a sprain? A sprain is a stretch and/or tear that only happens to ligaments.
Sprains and strains are categorized according to severity:
- MILD (Grade 1) -
A muscle is stretched in a mild strain, microscopic tears in the muscle fibres. No loss of muscle strength and there is no joint loosening.
- MODERATE (Grade 2) -
A moderate strain partially tears the muscle, producing joint instability, noticeable loss of strength, and some swelling.
- SEVERE (Grade 3) -
A severe strain produces excruciating pain at the moment of injury, as ligaments or muscle tear completely, or separate from the bone. The complete rupture makes the joint nonfunctional.
You should seek medical attention if you suspect that you've ruptured a tendon, ligament or muscle, can't move the affected joint and have numbness in any part of the injured area.
How Do I Diagnose Biceps Muscle Strain?
The best way to diagnose this condition is with a visit to your doctor for a physical examination of your arm / shoulder. During a physical examination of your injured arm, your doctor will be looking for weakness, pain in the arm area and swelling.
He/she will look and feel the bones and soft tissue in both your shoulder and arm to evaluate symmetry to recognize any differences. This will identify any abnormalities, such as mild or severe inflammation, bone deformities, atrophied muscles, redness and/or warmth on the skin.
Sometimes, one set of symptoms can result in multiple diagnoses. An X-ray, CT scan, MRI or visual ultrasound is often needed in order to diagnose if the area is out of alignment or the extent of the soft tissue damage.
It's important to have a proper diagnosis from a doctor or some other medical professional to determine the cause of your symptoms. This way the right treatment can be used to treat the condition and relieve your pain.
Biceps Muscle Strain Treatment -
What You Can Do!
The good news is that most cases of biceps muscle strains will heal with simple home conservative treatments and surgery is often not needed!
Step 1 - Reduce Pain and Swelling with Cold Compression
The first step for conservative treatment of your biceps muscle is to reduce the swelling to "open up" the area for more blood flow. Anyone in the health-care business knows that your blood supplies the oxygen and much needed nutrients required to heal biceps muscle injuries. This is why for years, doctors, trainers, and other medical professionals have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, and after any re-injury.
Although RICE can help to treat these symptoms, ice and freezer gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. The problem is, up until now there hasn't been any other option to treat painful conditions and injuries, so ice and blue gel packs (full of anti-freeze and chemicals) have been the only choice up until now.
Fortunately you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late and pool around your injury putting the cold everywhere except for where you need it most.
A ColdCure Wrap® allows you to treat your biceps muscle injury in an effective and convenient way. Our ColdCure Wraps® will wrap around you keeping the cold right over your bypass injury for the entire length of your treatment. Our food-grade, non-toxic gel packs can be chilled in the fridge or freezer to tailor the amount of cold that you need for your injury. It doesn't matter how you cool it down, because our gel packs are chock full of gel that's designed to cool down into millions of tiny snowflakes. This method of cooling means our gel packs aren't icy-cold and stay flexible even right out of the freezer! The cushioned gel will wrap around your shoulder and it won't budge for the entire treatment period. You'll no longer have to deal with annoying pooling around your shoulder or have to hold a hard block of ice on your injury!
Cold Compression Therapy slows nerve and cell function - reducing the swelling that blocks blood vessels from doing their job.
This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the tissue and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells don't get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tendon, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal tendon injuries faster and with less pain! This is why you need to treat your shoulder/arm pain right after it's hurt, when you notice pain / swelling / inflammation, or directly after a re-injury. Applying a ColdCure Wrap® right away will stop the damage immediately and unblock your blood vessels to let your body's natural blood flow in to start healing the tissue.
Cold Compression Therapy = the ColdCure Wrap®
I'll seem weird for you to read this, but there are a LOT of people out there that don't understand how fast cold compression with a Freeze Wrap® can get the swelling / inflammation in your biceps under control! After you get rid of the swelling for good you can start dealing with your injury and pain head on.
Use a Cold Compression ColdCure Wrap®:
- 24 to 72 hours after your initial tendon injury or when you first notice pain and swelling in your shoulder and arm to stop cellular damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
- After exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to prevent re-injury of your shoulder/arm.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and swelling.
- Anytime you feel your shoulder/arm has been over-extended, over-worked, twisted, strained or sprained causing pain and swelling.
- Anytime you have swelling, sharp throbbing pain or inflammation in the tendons in your shoulder.
- Any other situation where you need to draw the pain and inflammation out of your arm and shoulder.
Step 2 - Improve Circulation, Soften Scar Tissue & Prevent Re-Injury with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
After the inflammation around your injured tendon has been reduced, you need to provide extra blood flow to strengthen your tendon tissue.
Promoting blood flow to your biceps tendinitis to help your body heal itself is a concept that has been utilized for centuries. Oxygen and nutrients, carried within the blood, are critical for the body to heal itself. Without proper blood flow, your recovery from biceps tendinitis will be delayed... sometimes for a very long period of time.
Even though the concept is simple, improving blood flow to arm while it's injured can be difficult. Traditional methods require your arm to move in order to promote blood flow - but that same motion that promotes blood flow can also make your pain and tendonitis much worse. Relying on movement alone to increase blood flow puts you in danger of re-injuring your biceps
So what do you do when you need to increase blood flow, but you can't move your arm without re-injuring your tendon?
Using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®), will help with your recovery and heal your tendon more completely. BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your soft tissue to nourish your tendons, improving elasticity and speeding the healing process. This increased Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy to your peroneal tendon(s) is greatly needed.
The only way to get BFST® is through use of a BFST Wrap®. The BFST Wrap® is the only treatment method that improves blood flow and circulation on a deep tissue level. Other methods of warming / heating tissue (hot water bottles, hot baths, etc) will only ever increase blood flow on a surface / skin level. These methods need a LOT of time to even reach your tendon on a deep tissue level. And even if you were to use them this long your skin would heat up to an uncomfortable level and may even burn you.
The best source of heat treatment is from a product where you don't even feel that much heat. When you don't feel the heat, it means the therapy is working in your deep soft tissue which is really where you need it. It's kind of like how your heart works in your body. You can't "feel" your heart pumping blood all around your body to your arms and legs. You can't even hear your own heartbeat without listening very closely. This is exactly how deep tissue BFST® works too! You're not supposed to "feel" a lot of heat because the heat isn't treating your skin, it's treating your biceps increasing the blood flow right in your tendon tissue.
- When treating biceps muscle strain or any soft tissue injury, an effective therapy will increase blood flow to the injury while the joint is immobile.
- This increase in blood flow will accelerate the body's own ability to heal itself.
- The BFST Wrap® is the most highly effective blood flow stimulation device that you will find on the market that is approved by the FDA for use in the home or hospital.
Our BFST Wrap® is made from medical-grade material - this should be as important to you as it is to us! Other products that are sold in stores are considered "consumer goods" meaning the material only needs to be as good as a sweater that you wear. Clothing articles like this don't need to meet high standards of production or materials and may include materials that irritate your skin.
Since our wraps are medical-grade products registered with the FDA, they are of a higher quality and need to meet way more standards for manufacturing (ISO 10993 - bio-compatibility testing). This makes our wraps the safest product for heating treatment. Our manufacturer has spent years perfecting the wrap design to make sure you get the treatment you deserve!
Use a BFST Inferno Wrap®:
- After swelling and inflammation have been reduced with cold compression.
- Before exercise or workouts to warm up the tendons in your biceps to prevent re-injury.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to warm up your tissues before physical therapy exercising or stretching.
- Anytime you feel the tendons in your arm/shoulder have stiffened up, are tight and your mobility is reduced causing you more pain.
- Anytime you have sore or aching tissue in your arm and shoulder.
- Any other situation where you need to increase blood flow to your biceps tendonitis injury to relax your tendon, relieve pain, prevent re-injury and enhance flexibility of your tissue.
Use These Conservative Treatment Tools
to Deal with Scar Tissue
It's important to rest any soft tissue injury because our natural healing process takes time to heal completely. If you don't rest your strained muscle, it can quickly turn into a from a small grade 1 to a grade 2 or a grade 2 to a grade 3 or rupture of the muscle. To repair our damaged muscle tissue quickly, our bodies will use scar tissue to fill in the tears in the tendon. If you need to rest for an extended period of time and avoid certain activities that make your pain worse, you'll be more likely to develop massive amounts of this scar tissue as a temporary healing measure.
Scar tissue (adhesions) may plague you for weeks, months and maybe even years, depending on your level of activity and the amount of conservative treatments you have done during your rehabilitation. Scar tissue is a major problem, especially when it comes to re-injury of your tendon. When dealing with scar tissue it's always important to:
- listen well to your physician and if conservative treatments are recommended, remember to stick to your (daily) treatment plan using these therapies.
- frequent use of the ColdCure Wrap® will help reduce the swelling very quickly. Much of the pain you feel will be from the swelling, and you'd be surprised how fast the pain drops off once the swelling is down.
- BFST Wrap® is a safe, electromagnetic energy device that will help reduce scar tissue and increase blood flow to the area (thereby accelerating the body's own healing process).
- when applied before stretching, the BFST Wrap® will help flush the area with fresh blood. This will help improve your range of motion and prevent re-injury.
It may seem hard to believe, but our ColdCure Wraps® and Inferno Wraps® will assist you in recovering from your injury faster and reduce the chance suffering from degeneration conditions (like arthritis or tendinitis) by maximizing blood flow where it's needed most and reducing swelling / inflammation induced pain.
Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health
If you want to avoid re-injury, or manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits, a ColdCure Wrap® and Shoulder BFST Wrap®, will provide exceptional results. Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating a regular routine of using a ColdCure Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ into your everyday health regimen.
Call one of our AidMyMuscle Advisers at no cost or obligation to address any lingering questions you have about using heat or cold for your shoulder injury - toll free 1-866-237-9608
Learn More About SUPERIOR Muscle Pain Treatments
Learn more about how the ColdCure Wrap® is designed to be the most effective cold compression wrap on the market today.
Learn more about how the BFST Wrap® helps with the healing process.