Shoulder bursitis

How to treat a pulled shoulder muscle

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A pulled shoulder muscle causes severe pain and limited mobility of the shoulder. A pulled muscle can be caused by injuries from sports and daily activities such as lifting or reaching. A muscle pull happens when a strong force rips some of the muscle fibers. Overuse or repetitive movements can result to a pulled shoulder muscle.

Treatment of a pulled shoulder muscle

  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area to lessen swelling. Ice relaxes the muscles and prevents spasms, stops the bleeding and lessens the pain. Apply ice on the affected shoulder for at least 20 minutes within the first day of experiencing pain. Avoid placing the pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite. It should be wrapped with a towel before placing on the affected area.
  • Wrap the affected area using a bandage for compression and give support.
    Pulled shoulder muscle
    Apply an ice pack on the affected area to lessen swelling.
  • Elevate the arm above the level of the heart and when sleeping keep the arm elevated by placing the arm on a pillow.
  • Apply a warm compress or heating pad to increase the blood circulation in the affected area and for fast healing of the condition. Apply a heating pad on the area for at least 30 minutes and avoid sleeping with a heating pad on the area to prevent the condition from getting worse. Another alternative is taking a warm bath to relax the damaged muscles and lessen the pain. Heat increases the circulation of blood in the area and improve the metabolism of the body. Applying heat also minimizes the spasms and tension in the tendons and ligaments.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen to lessen the pain and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin to lessen the swelling and pain.
  • Rub arnica cream on the pulled shoulder muscles which can be absorbed in the skin to lessen the pain and tension in the muscles
  • Rest the affected shoulder at least 7 days. Avoid performing activities that can cause additional pain and strain. Perform gentle exercises such as walking to prevent deconditioning of the muscles.
  • Take a vitamin C and beta carotene supplement. These supplements work together to generate connective tissue and lessen the pain.
  • In a bathtub filled with warm water, mix a cup of Epsom salt. Soak the body in the mixture to relieve muscular aches and pains for at least 12 minutes.
  • Apply gel that contains aescin which is an active ingredient found in horse chestnut every 2-3 hours. The gel lessens the swelling and tenderness.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises and effective methods of using the shoulder when performing specific activities such as in sports and lifting.
  • Gently massage the affected shoulder to increase circulation of blood in the area, relax the muscles and promote fast healing of the condition.


Always warm up and stretch before performing any physical activitiy to prevent injury. Avoid overusing one shoulder and maintain good posture. Use proper techniques in lifting by bending at the knees to prevent excessive straining of the shoulder.

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