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Painful Serratus Anterior
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Painful Serratus Anterior

While moving file cabinets, boxes, etc, in the office last week, I believe I pulled my serratus anterior on my right side.
I am having extreme pain while trying to breathe (as well as coughing, and I am getting over a cold!), decreased range of motion of my right arm, difficulty lifting heavy objects, tenderness to the touch, pain in my back and chest, and trouble sleeping at night because of the pain.  

This is 5 days that I am dealing with this, and I am wondering how much longer I should expect this to last?
Is there anything I can do to lessen the pain besides NSAIDs and trigger point therapy?
Should I be concerned that I may have seriously injured myself?
The pain is some of the worst I have ever experienced in my life.
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As you know, the serratus anterior is a muscle that originates on the surface of the upper eight ribs at the side of the chest and inserts along the entire anterior length of the medial border of the scapula. Its function is to pull the scapula forward and around the ribcage such as when you throw a punch.  In sports medicine, this muscle is frequently injured throwing a punch, or hitting a pop fly ball.
While it would be possible to injure the serratus carrying boxes, this seems an unlikely mechanism of injury. Furthermore,  this type of muscle strain would not cause the type of rest pain or severe pain you are describing.  I would be more worried about a herniated thoracic disk, a stress fracture of the ribs, or alternatively an early bout of shingles.
I think if the pain persists, an evaluation by your doctor is in order.

3 Comments
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OK for his case, but I also believe I have injured my serratus anterior on the right side through very vigerous tennis on the Wii.(I am 70 years old)  Symptoms are moderate pain (about 3 on a scale of 10) wrapping from the right side of the spine around to the front of the rib cage in the lower ribs.  Is there anything to do for this other than advil and rest?  Thank you.  Rod Plimpton ***@****
Rod
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A related discussion, Serratus anterior was started.
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