How Do You Judge the Severity of a Pulled or Strained Biceps or Triceps Muscle?

You can read a general article on assessing the severity of a muscle pull, or read on for specifics regarding a biceps or triceps pull.

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Your pulled arm muscles will be assigned a grade based on the following:

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  • tightness in the front of the upper arm (biceps) or back of the upper arm (triceps)
  • ability to flex and extend you arm at the elbow, but aware of discomfort
  • minimal swelling
  • contracting the affected muscle, especially against resistance, will not cause too much pain


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You have experienced partial tearing of the muscle fibers. You may experience:

  • twinges of pain during activity
  • visible swelling and pressure will increase pain
  • bruising, redness, and warmth on the upper arm
  • ability to flex or extend the arm at the elbow is compromised
  • pain when contracting the muscle, especially against resistance

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You have fully torn (ruptured) some muscle fibers in your biceps or triceps. You may experience:

  • severe pain, especially when contracting the muscle with or without resistance
  • visible and immediate swelling
  • contraction will cause pain and potential bulging/spasm of the muscle
  • range of motion and overall mobility will be limited or suspended


Chronic Injury

Not categorized as a grade 1, 2 or 3, chronic injuries are characterized by the fact that they keep occurring. When you experience multiple arm muscle pulls over the course of several months to several years, it is a sign that you have some internal damage or weakness that the body has not yet been able to overcome. Taking the time to recovery properly will pay dividends later on. Chronic injuries usually mean scar tissue, which can cause difficulties later in life as the body naturally becomes weaker.


Related Bicep Articles:
Strained Biceps & Triceps
Torn Biceps, Triceps – Causes & Symptoms
Torn Bicep, Triceps Treatment & Therapies
Preventing Torn Bicep & Triceps