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Consumer Review:

Muscle Pulls And Tears Might Be Associated With Creatine Usage.

I had been playing hockey 2 times a week and going to the gym 2 to 3 times per week. My gym workout consisted of a 1 hour boxing class and 40 minutes on the stationary bike. I was eating a well balanced diet and taking a multi vitamin and mineral tablet, vit. C (500mg), B-complex (50) and Vit. E (400iu) daily.

I felt I was in good shape but my energy levels were only fair not great. I read about creatine and its benefits and its limited side effects so I figured I would give it a try. I loaded for the first 5 days by ingesting 20 grams a day, half before my workout or game and half after. I noticed an immediate improvement in my energy levels and my ability to recover. I did not get tired at all during my shifts or in the gym. After the initial loading period I took 5 grams of creatine daily to maintain my levels. I had been on creatine for only 3 weeks and I had gained 10 lbs (195 lbs to 205 lbs) without any lifting.

I stopped taking creatine 2 days ago. During a hockey game (3 days ago) I was checked and ripped my left pectoral muscle. I have found out through research that muscle pulls and tears might be associated with creatine usage. I am not sure if creatine was responsible for my torn muscle, but a completely torn pectoral muscle is not a very common injury. I also have the biggest ugliest bruise I have ever gotten. Considering that I played college football and lacrosse and have been hit much harder and by bigger stronger athletes, I believe creatine played a part in the injury. After the surgery I'll go back to Met-Rx.

Response #1

Thank you for this information. You sound well educated and make sense. I agree that there is definitely a possibility of all of these side effects to occur from the extensive use of creatine that all of the companies making creatine suggest, but I have taken creatine as an experiment and really did not believe it would work. I experienced a gain of 5lbs and 30 lbs in at least one lift. I have not taken creatine for about 3 weeks and have kept the weight (incidentally I am at 7% body fat). Therefore, I know there are great advantages to using this product. But, just like anything else, it must be used in moderation.

I don't believe that the companies suggest the product at it's maximum efficiency level. There is a point where you can attain very great gains with very little side effects. You just have to be intelligent about it. My suggestion to creatine users everywhere is to consider the fact that your body does not need or use that much creatine and that probably reducing the amount by even half the recommended dosage might still give optimum results with minimum side effects.

Response #2

Look, all I'm hearing is how bad creatine monohydrate is. How it tears muscles, how it makes people overweight, how it won't let muscles relax after working out. Just today I went to GNC and picked up two large containers of creatine. Now, I'm thinking I should take the stuff back. I've never taken this stuff before and now I get a bunch of freaked out people telling me to stay away from it.

Response #3

I believe creatine was a contributing factor to the long head of my bicep tendon tearing completely from the humerus while doing heavy flies. However, I must add that I had ignored early warning signs ie: pain, soreness, and many years of olympic lifting , power lifting, football, baseball, basketball, etc.. I believe that creatine allowed me to surpass a point in excess of my natural ability. My advise would be train don't strain.

Response #4

I did not want to believe anything bad about creatine, but I think my mind is changing on that. I am 38 years old now, but when I was 37 I was doing a very hard workout to bring up my bench press. I weighed 170 lbs at the time. I was using creatine and was making great gains. I went from a 265 bench to a 310 bench in a month.

As part of the workout I was doing skull crushers for my triceps with 125 lbs. I have trained for 20 years always going heavy and hard and never pulled or ripped a muscle. But on this occasion, doing my triceps, I felt my right tricep rip. I dropped the weights hard! It took 5 months for it to heal enough to work out almost 100%. To this day, I feel it a little when I workout. I have started taking it again, but only 2\3 the minimum amount just on workout days. I hope it will be enough to build, but not too much to harm!

Response #5

First of all, you need to drink a lot of water. If you take creatine regularly, you should start out drinking a lot of water. You'll find yourself going to the bathroom a LOT, but after several weeks this should stop as your body adjusts. The weight gain is caused not only from muscle fiber growth, but the muscles retaining the water. Lack of water = tears, pulls, and all sorts of painful things. Ever notice your tongue starting to turn "whitish" during your workout? Drink more water!

As for joint wear, yes....creatine makes the muscles stronger, but can your joints support it? Probably not. Creatine will make your muscles do more, but your joints won't be able to handle it without the proper supplements. I recommend some kind of joint support supplement containing glucosamine sulfate. Remember, while using creatine or any other "higher level" supplement, you need to eat right, do your cardio and weight training on a regular basis, and drink a lot of water. And remember, creatine caffeine, you'll ruin the creatine! Taking creatine with carbohydrates increases the effectiveness of creatine monohydrate.

I personally use EAS Phosphagen HP. I used to use standard Pro - Performance creatine, but when I switched to Phosphagen HP my gains began to really become visible and I had more energy (I use the EAS super shakes). I had pains in my knees after running or heavy weight training and after several weeks of daily usage of glucosamine with CSA, the pain was gone.

Creatine note: stir it up and drink it fast! "Rinse" the glass with water to get the remaining creatine particles and drink it.

Mike P.,
Chicago, Illinois

Response #6

I have also experienced this problem with creatine monohydrate. I am a high school wrestler. I have a container of EAS brand creatine. I haven't been using it regularly, but I take 1 serving a half-hour before a wrestling tournament. I have to say that my strength increases greatly, as well as my intensity. While wrestling I pulled a back muscle once and a shoulder muscle at a different time. Nothing really serious, but I do believe that creatine does play a role in pulled and torn muscles.

Response #7

It seems most people have over exerted them selves instead of sticking with a well defined training regime. Over exceeding or pushing yourselves to lift heavier than normal weights is never advisable. If you have a program, stick with it. Creatine will assist you in building muscle mass without the need to place such rapid strains on your body's skeletal and soft tissue infrastructure. Also, daily dose for pure Creatine should be kept to 5000mg.

Response #8

I recently tore my pec major tendon completely from my arm and had to have it surgically repaired. The most amazing thing about it is I'm not a creatine user, and, it happened weight-training. After reading the testimonials above, I feel obligated to inform those who weight-train, that creatine usage probably has no effect other than psychological on muscle tear/pull/strain events occurring during heavy exertion exercises. Your tendons and ligaments can only handle so much exertion before they fail - that's the way you were born. If you take supplements or not, muscle growth and strength is proportional to your exercise level and consistency. The moment you go beyond your boundaries, you are susceptible to injury.

Creatine gives you the psychological feeling that you are stronger and have more energy. You think this way and you train harder. The harder you train, the more risk you assume. Muscle growth and strength come over time. There is no short-term remedy. Don't be fooled into thinking Creatine is helping you in any way or, for that matter, hurting you. Truth is, you get more energy and muscle strength from eating pure sugar. But, even with sugar, you can still overexert yourself and get hurt.

You can blame muscle tears and pulls on Creatine, but, the reality is you get hurt when you go beyond your boundaries. Creatine doesn't change your boundaries. Take a look at your stretching, climate conditions, overaggressive motivation....


Response #9

I appreciate the sharing of this information. Most of the data on creatine is all positive since it's provided by research from companies that are looking for positive results. My experience has been good and bad. My strength did go up and I hit the softball (main hobby) harder. However, I ripped my bicep simply swinging a bat. I have read recently that creatine may cause swelling in muscle bellies and tears may result where muscle and tendon meet. That's exactly what happened to me and it's not repairable. Both sides of the coin need to be examined. Thanks for the opportunity to share this thought.

Response #10

The creatine that you took was probably the powder. That stuff is known to increase injuries like torn muscles, but not all creatine is bad. There is a new kind called creatine serum. It works differently from the powder kind and it doesn't cause muscle tears.

Response #11

After 12 years of playing soccer competitively (semi-professional level), I incorporated weightlifting into my routine. A friend advised me to take creatine, and I did. I used the loading (20 grams a day) for a week and then did the 5 gram maintenance phase. I noticed a good increase in strength and recovery.

About three months after using creatine, I tore my right thigh simply kicking a ball. I had already been playing for 2 hours so I was fatigued, but this was nothing new. I never fully recovered and have a noticeable hole in my thigh where the muscle tore. I've stopped taking creatine since I read about the risks of increasing muscle tear.

Response #12

I had a very similar experience. I've a hole now where the lower part of my bicep used to be. After some research, I believe that it was the powder creatine that was largely responsible. It has been shown to artificially bloat the muscle belly, causing it to weaken. It occurred during a softball game and, like the soccer player above, I've been playing all my life and was well warmed up and conditioned when it happened. It was shocking. I'm now using effervescent creatine, which you only take when you work out. No loading, no bloating, no cramps. I believe it's the best for athletes who need maximum power in the shortest amount of time. The brand I use is by Rexall, who has a good medical reputation.

Response #13

In response to the issue of creatine use and muscle strain: Recently I have been suffering from tendonitis of the forearms. I feel that the use of creatine contributed to this injury. Creatine allowed me to work harder and lift more. I ignored my pains and strains only until the pain was unbearable. I will stop training for six weeks and see how that works out. For all you people that are using creatine, it works. However, don't ignore your strains. Remember, resting is gaining.

Response #14

I have owned a gym in Canada for 4 years. In that time, I have seen many supplements come and go. Most of what I have heard from the people above is injuries caused by loss of brain cells! If you start to use any muscle builder, natural or other, the potential for injury is always there. Be smart in your workouts. Yes, Creatine can increase strength, but remember how long it took for your body to repair it self before the use of Creatine. Just because you have become stronger in a short time, does not mean you should increase the weight you lift or show how strong you have become. Your body's soft tissue takes much longer to catch up to muscle growth in strength. Because of this fact, do not increase the amount of weight you lift.

You will find that if you go on a cycle of no more than 2 months on, then 2 months off, without changing your program, you will build more strength with no injury after you have stopped for at least a month. With no Creatine in your system, after a month is the time you should start to push your program. You will find that your gains will be higher and that plateau you want to get over will come quickly.

Creatine is what it is, a supplement. It is not the wonder drug of the year 2000. Be smart when you use it, and you will get results. If you do it my way, you will find it may take a little longer, but you will not be on the injured list for months. We all know what atrophy is like, and I for one would rather make the muscle stay.

As far as this loading will get the same benefits if you take a small amount each day. The only benefit you will get if you stick to their directions is less money in your pocket and more money in the pocket of those that make Creatine. After 30 days, your body will have the same saturation rate of creatine as if you followed the directions. You will also have the same gain in mass.

For most of you that use this product, you would get the same results if you weight lifted correctly. A proper diet of 6 small meals a day will increase your metabolic rate. It will also give you the energy your body needs to repair muscle.

Over training is another mistake many of you make. Give your body time to heal. It may not seem like you have increased size or strength as you go along, but if you take pictures of yourself or take measurements, you will find when you look back even a few months that the changes are there. You have one body! Take care of it! Again, I say BE SMART. Do not over train, and use supplements as just that, a supplement. In the long run you will be better for it.

Response #15

I believe 100% that creatine has tore my pectoral. I've been taking creatine for a month and a half and I noticed an increase in strength in the past weeks. However, I strongly recommend that no one takes this supplement! I've been working out for 15 years and have pushed myself very hard in the gym, especially while doing bench presses, and I never had a bad injury beyond maybe sore muscles the next morning.

Last night while doing 315 for a few reps, I felt strong, like I had four or five more that I could do comfortably. And than it happened...the worst sound and pain you can imagine: RIIIPPPP...RIIIPPPP!! I've learned a painful and I'm sure what will be long lesson. My only hope is that you will not have to experience the pain I'm in right now as I leave for the doctor's office.

Guys, it's not worth it! Just eat right.

Response #1 to Response #15

This is in response to #15. I too tore my pec major tendon completely off my bone, but it was not because of creatine! My max bench at the time was 500. I tore it while I was warming up on my 4th rep. With 405, the weight was easy. I'd done it many times before. The reason I tore it was because I didn't stretch properly and it was cold as h--- out. I'd be willing to bet the reason you tore yours is the same as mine. NOT CREATINE!

I'm back up to where I was the time I tore it, and believe me, I do not want to go through that pain ever again either. It's in the back of my head every time I bench, every time my chest is a little sore the day after benching. But it's not because of the creatine. It's because of not stretching properly, but I AM NOW!

Response #16

First, creatine powder or pill requires two things: Number one, loading, and number two, extra water over and above the 2 liters per day for non-training days. Plus you need water to replace that lost during training. The muscle tears are due to not having enough water in your body. I do weights and cardio. I do biking and martial arts that stress the muscles and can easily tear. Mine have not torn.

I use the liquid Creatine called serum because it requires no loading and it can be taken 30 minutes before a workout. Also, it does not require extra water. I make sure to drink enough water so that (according to a sports doctor) my urine comes out clear. If not, then you are not hydrated enough. Also, you must warm up with light exercises, not pull-ups and such. Then stretch all muscles, both arms and legs. Too many stretch the legs only. Do this and you will be less likely to injure yourself. I am in a category where I am more likely than most to get torn or strained muscles due to the heavy martial arts competitions as a heavy weight black belt. If you think it will cause you problems, stay away from it. Otherwise, it should be safe if you follow common sense and listen to your body.

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