The biceps is best described as a two-headed muscle that starts on the front and upper part of the scapula and connects to the radius in the forearm. A rupture to the bicep typically occurs along the tendon close to the shoulder and usually affects those between the ages of 40-60 years old. On the other hand, it can occur to anybody especially during violent contraction of the biceps or any traumatic event. Take note that either one of the two heads can rupture or the first aid care and treatment for a torn bicep muscle may or may not need surgical intervention. It is best to consult a doctor but there are cases in which simple techniques that can be performed at home can help heal the affected muscle.
Immediate care for torn bicep muscle
The symptoms of a rupture or tear on the bicep include loss of strength with elbow supination and flexion, abrupt pain, sensation of rolling up in the arm and tenderness along the length of the bicep head.
The initial first aid measure is to apply ice if a bicep tear is suspected. The ice must be wrapped over the affected area using a compression wrap and place the arm in a sling. Immediately take the individual to a doctor or to the emergency department at the nearest hospital to confirm the diagnosis.
The pain and swelling can be controlled so that the damage is minimized. NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen can be given. Perform the RICE method for at least the initial 72 hours with the sling on the affected arm to keep the arm elevated. The ice is applied with the compression wrap in 20 minutes at a time for 2-3 hours for the first three days.
Individuals 40-60 years old should undergo conservative management without requiring surgery. The injured arm must be given enough time to rest until the pain and swelling has completely reduced before the rehabilitation routines can be started.
Range-of-motion exercises must be performed gently once the pain and swelling has subsided. The exercise must be done in slow phase. The exercises must be performed to the maximum threshold of the individual once a day for the first week.
After a week, exercises with light-resistance elastic therapy band must be performed. The individual can move on to the heavier weights once a week if tolerable. In case pain or swelling recurs after the exercises, the RICE method must be performed for 48 hours before the therapy is continued.
Once the bicep is ruptured among individuals who need full supination strength especially among athletes, surgical intervention is required. The defect will be repaired and physical therapy is recommended to restore the strength and range of motion.