Your latissimus dorsi muscle is the largest muscle in your back and makes moving your arm up and back possible. The muscle connects your arm to your back and is one of the largest muscles affecting your shoulder functioning, according to chiropractor Dr. Kim Christensen. A muscle sprain causes pain, muscle atrophy and hindered movement of your arm, shoulder and back. In order to properly heal, sprains require physical therapy and protocol concentrating on healing, strengthening and stretching the area to restore functioning. Consult with your doctor first.
Require Healing Protocol
Latissimus dorsi sprains require following the standard healing protocol known as RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, in order to properly heal, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Resting your sprained muscle gives your muscles time to begin the healing process and grow new tissues. Icing your sprain reduces swelling and inflammation and provides natural pain relief. Apply ice for 20 minutes throughout the day. Compressing the area with an elastic bandage while constraining it reduces inflammation. Elevating your back enhances the healing process by returning blood to your heart and also reducing inflammation. Sitting in a recliner, sofa or upright chair provide examples of how to elevate your latissimus dorsi muscle.
Benefit From Assisted Flexing
Initial stages of recuperation after a latissimus dorsi sprain involve gently moving your muscle to improve flexibility. Gently stretching the area gradually restores range of motion while reducing any joint or muscle stiffness. Since your latissimus dorsi muscle will be weak when first recuperating, you may need to use your healthy arm to assist with maneuvers. Start doing a mild overhead stretch, advises SportsInjuryClinic.net, by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your healthy hand onto your injured-side hand. Use your healthy hand to gently lift both arms overhead. Keep your elbows as straight as possible. Feel the stretch in your back, shoulder and upper arm muscles. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Slowly return your arms to the original position. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Strengthen With Isometrics
Latissimus dorsi sprains result in weakened, or atrophied, muscles that need to be strengthened gently, but firmly. Isometrics provide one of the most convenient and easiest ways to improve your muscle strength after any injury. Isometrics involve tightening your muscles without moving your joints. Start strengthening your latissimus dorsi muscle by sitting upright in a firm chair, both feet firmly on the floor. Tighten your chest and back muscles. Hold this tension for 10 seconds. Release the tension. Tighten your abdomen and lower back muscles. Hold this tension for 10 seconds. Release the tension and relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Benefit From Imitating Cats
Latissimus dorsi sprains can benefit by imitating cats during rehabilitative exercises. Doing a stretching maneuver known as a cat stretch concentrates on improving flexibility of the latissimus dorsi muscle, according to PhysioAdvisor.com. Start by getting onto your hands and knees on an exercise or yoga mat. Place your hands above your head level at shoulder width. Slowly and gently move your body back toward your heels while lowering your chest toward the mat. Keep looking at the mat. Gently arch your back to increase the stretch. Stretch until you feel a mild stretch along your shoulders and back. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Slowly return to the original position. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times. To increase the stretch, place your hands closer together.