Biceps Brichii

Biceps Brachii is involved in many physical activities. It's common for the Biceps to get strained. However, we often mistake Biceps issues for the Rotator Cuff problems.

As the name suggests, the Bi-ceps has two heads, or proximal attachments on the shoulder: the short head and the long head. See the image.

The short head is attached at the Coracoid process which is part of the shoulder blade accessible on the front of the shoulder. This attachment gets irritated with excessive repetitive movement as in breaststroke swimming, tennis, or baseball.

The long head is a tendon that goes through a narrow canal on the arm bone - the bicipital groove - and attaches to the top of the shoulder blade. This Biceps tendon is even more problematic. Often, it gets strained and inflamed with any action that involves lifting overhead or holding arms up like painting or construction. Plumbers and electricians have notoriously irritated Biceps tendons. 

It's easy to check if they are inflamed if you know the anatomy. See the first image again. Use your thumb and rub across the tendons. If achy and painful, it's irritated. 

What to Do to Treat It

1. Stop the activity that causes it; 

2. Ice it if inflamed; 

3. Start doing eccentric biceps curls. See the second image. Using light weights, focus on slowly lowering the weight instead of lifting. It should take 4-5 seconds to lower the weight, and 1 second to lift up. Perform 2 sets of 20 every day, twice. 

4. See a massage therapist - we can examine the Biceps tendons and the Rotator cuff, relax the tissues so healing is optimal, and check to make sure other muscles are not compensating for the Biceps work.


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