When working to recover strained shoulders, the first few days after injury are extremely important. Drink lots of water. When muscles are injured, they release toxins which build in the tissue to cause stiffness and pain. Water will help to keep the shoulder joint lubricated and flush toxins from the body. Try to keep your shoulder stationary during acute injury, even using a sling if necessary. Acute injury usually lasts for 3 to 7 days and is characterized by hot, inflamed tissues. During this period, it is also important to apply ice to the area four to five times daily for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to help reduce inflammation, calm the pain and push toxins away from the area.