Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do you have muscles in the middle of your chest?"
The part of my chest right in the middle is really sore. Are there muscles there? Can you pull the muscle in the middle of your chest? It is like an achy feeling and hurts more when I move too.
You do in fact have muscles in the middle of your chest. The pectoral muscles help form some of the structure of the upper chest; the intercostal muscles run in between the ribs; and some of the abdominal muscles also have attachment points near the ribcage. Although these muscle groups are not as prominent as those found in other parts of the body such as the upper arms or legs, they are very important in helping maintain core stability and posture. It is absolutely possible to pull or sprain any of these muscles, and the intercostal muscles in particular can be very painful when injured. Every time you twist your torso or take a deep breath these muscles have to help expand the ribcage, so they are very easily irritated. Lifting heavy objects or even a strong cough can lead to a muscle strain. Although it sounds like you may have pulled a muscle, there are also many other conditions that can cause pain in the middle of the chest, including a range of conditions affecting the heart and lungs. Whenever you have a new symptom like this, it is always best to be evaluated by your physician. He or she knows your history and can help you determine whether this is just a simple muscle strain that will respond to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or whether something else might be going on that requires additional evaluation and treatment.
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