The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The shoulder has several muscles that help it move and allow a wide range of motion. A strain or pulled shoulder muscle can affect the slightest movements, making simple activities difficult and painful. Pulling a muscle in the shoulder can be caused by an injury, overuse, and general wear and tear. Minor shoulder injuries usually heal on their own with rest and self-care. Severe shoulder muscle injuries should be addressed by a medical professional.
Pulling a muscle in the shoulder can happen quickly. This could be from falling on the shoulder, an auto accident, or a work accident. It can develop after weeks, months, and years of repetitive motion and overuse. It is common among individuals that play certain sports or jobs that require repetitive activities with the shoulders. They can also happen with no apparent cause. Treatment and recovery depend on the type and severity of the injury.
It can be hard to tell the cause unless the individual has experienced the specific type of pain before. Otherwise, it is recommended to consult a medical professional like a physical therapist or chiropractor. This is because shoulder pain can be caused by inflammation of the tendons and joints and/or the joint itself.
A pulled muscle is characterized by:
Treatment and recovery vary and depend on the severity of the pull and the individual’s overall health. Many find that their pain is reduced with self-care in 2 or 3 weeks. Chiropractic treatment for a pulled shoulder muscle can provide relief within 1 or 2 weeks.
Depending on the severity of the pull and how much pain is being experienced, individuals could be recommended to take an NSAID like Ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling. Self-care can include:
Stretching a pulled shoulder muscle after a few days of rest is recommended because not working out the injured muscle can cause more problems. Not using the muscle can cause it to atrophy, which will take longer to heal, and the surrounding muscles become weak.
If self-care is not providing sufficient relief, then chiropractic treatment is recommended. A doctor of chiropractic can advise on the best treatment options and get to the root of the issue. Chiropractors have a treatment arsenal of modalities and approaches to help treat pulled muscles. These include:
A somatotype is the overall shape and composition of the human body. Body types based on physique have three generalized divisions:
However, it is rare for someone to fall entirely into one somatotype. Individuals can have a combination of qualities from two somatotypes, like an ectomorph-endomorph hybrid or an endomorph-ectomorph, for example.
Blache, Y et al. “Superficial shoulder muscle co-activations during lifting tasks: Influence of lifting height, weight, and phase.” Journal of electromyography and kinesiology: official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology vol. 25,2 (2015): 355-62. doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2014.11.004
Brantingham, James W et al. “Manipulative therapy for shoulder pain and disorders: expansion of a systematic review.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 34,5 (2011): 314-46. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.002
Kandel, Michel et al. “Somatotype, training and performance in Ironman athletes.” European journal of sports science vol. 14,4 (2014): 301-8. doi:10.1080/17461391.2013.813971
McFarland, Daniel C et al. “Spatial dependency of shoulder muscle demand during dynamic unimanual and bimanual pushing and pulling.” Applied ergonomics vol. 73 (2018): 199-205. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2018.07.011
The information herein on "Pulled Shoulder Muscle" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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