Serratus anterior pain

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The serratus anterior pain might be brought about by various ailments and lifestyle factors. It is important to note that the serratus anterior muscle encompasses the upper ribs.

What are the causes?

Some of the usual causes of serratus anterior pain include:

  • Stress
  • Tension
  • Overuse
  • Minor injuries

It is also prevalent in sports with repeated movements such as in tennis, swimming or weightlifting.

Medical conditions that are also considered as causes include:

Serratus anterior pain
In most cases, issues with the serratus anterior muscle often triggers pain in the back, chest or arm.
  • Fractured or slipped rib
  • Asthma
  • Pleurisy
  • Ankylosing spondylitis


In most cases, issues with the serratus anterior muscle often triggers pain in the back, chest or arm. These issues result to difficulty lifting the arm overhead or there is diminished range of motion in the shoulder and arm.

The individual might experience the following:

  • Difficulty with deep breathing
  • Finger or arm pain
  • Tightness
  • Sensitivity
  • Breast or chest pain
  • Shoulder blade discomfort

How to manage serratus anterior pain

If muscle pain arises during an activity, it is a sign of a pulled muscle. The RICE method is the suggested option for managing serratus anterior pain.

  • Rest – limit daily activities and allow the muscle to rest as much as possible
  • Ice – apply an ice pack on the affected region at 20 minutes at a time throughout the day
  • Compression – it is recommended to use tighter shirts or wrap the site with bandages to lessen the swelling

In some instances, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help in reducing the pain and swelling.

A warm compress and massage can also help in loosening the muscles.


Serratus anterior pain can be agonizing but it eventually settles on its own. Take note that stretching before and after activities can lower the risk for injury.

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