Your bicep muscle is actually two muscles in your upper arm that are used for bending the elbow and lifting objects. Too much strain on the bicep can cause this muscle to rupture or tear. Failure to warm-up before lifting weights and lifting too much weight for your ability can increase your chances of a tear. Symptoms of a torn bicep include an intense sharp pain, loss of strength, a large bump in the upper arm where the muscle rolls up and bruising. There are several ways to treat a torn bicep muscle, but all of them require a period of time off and rest.
Stop any exercise immediately and seek medical attention. Continuing to strain your arm will only make the injury worse. Your doctor will evaluate the extent of the tear and damage through a full examination and possibly an MRI.
Evaluate if surgery is necessary. If the tear is major, surgery may be recommended to reattach the muscle. This process can be complicated and should be seriously evaluated with a second opinion from another doctor. If you do have surgery, your arm will most likely be put in a soft sling for several weeks afterward to immobilize it and allow it to heal.
Ice your arm. Cold will help reduce the pain and inflammation. Wrap a thin towel around a bag of frozen vegetables or ice pack and apply to the affected area three to four times a day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Do not put the cold pack directly on the skin, as this can cause frostbite.
Seek physical therapy. Range of motion exercises and gentle stretching may be required to help restore movement and function to the upper arm. Once your arm is healed, your physical therapist may also recommend light weights, stretch bands and pulleys to help gain your strength back.
Eliminate any activity that causes strain to your bicep until it is completely healed. Avoid playing or lifting through the pain because this will only make it worse. Rest is the best way to let the muscle heal. You can still remain active, but choose exercises that do not put stress on the affected arm.