My Recovery from Pec Major Tear and Surgical Reconstruction
I’m now sitting 14 weeks post pec tear and 11 weeks post surgery and progress has been excellent. Both my physiotherapist and orthopedic surgeon are very happy with the outcome and went as far as to say it’s been a gold-standard, textbook recovery. Since this is a relatively common injury I thought I’d share some of the things I did which have likely contributed to a stellar outcome.
Natural Supplements to help with soft tissue recovery.
Proteolytic enzymes (i.e. bromelain) – These enzymes work by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory chemicals, such as bradykinin and prostaglandin E2; assisting degradation of dead cells and damaged tissue; limiting excess clotting of vessels in the injured tissues and reducing viscosity of extracellular fluid, thereby maintaining more normal circulation. This allows for enhanced nutrient delivery and waste removal. The result is quicker resolution of the inflammatory phase with earlier initiation of repair.
Bioflavonoids and other anti-inflammatory phytochemicals (i.e. vitamin C, grapeseed, curcumin/turmeric, boswellia) – offer anti–inflammatory activity and can play a role in healing athletic injuries. Citrus bioflavonoids have been demonstrated to accelerate the healing process. Bioflavonoids strengthen capillaries (thereby reducing swelling), reduce production of several inflammatory chemicals, inhibit enzymes that degrade connective tissues, and neutralize free radicals. Combining proteolytic enzymes, bioflavanoids and vitamin C produces synergistic effects.
Glucosamine / chondroitin sulfate – helpful in healing soft tissue injuries building blocks of these connective tissues and, when taken in supplemental form, stimulate synthesis of new connective tissues.
Zinc – promotes growth and healing of injured tissue and keeps the immune system strong.
Creatine – can help speed healing of muscle tears.
EFAs – inflammation modulation.
Vitamin E – avoid! May slow healing
There are two things on opposite sides of the spectrum that you don’t want to do – 1) be sedentary and 2) push yourself too hard too soon. For the first 6 weeks you will basically be doing very light rehab exercises for mobility, while you continue to train other, non-injured body parts (i.e. legs for me) and do cardio to maintain healthy circulation. The next 6 weeks is more light rehab but expanded exercises and range of motion guided by your physio. After 12 weeks you can get some clearance to slowly return to light training only with doctor’s support. Even then it’s not all out, ‘train insane’ style lifting. Progress slowly with gradual weight increments based on how things feel.
The last thing you want is for your muscle to recover in a strange, non-symmetrical manner with noticeably reduced functional strength. Train too soon and scar tissue will develop and the muscle will never look or function like it once did….and there’s no fixing that!