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How to Heal a Pulled Shoulder Muscle

author image Ashley Miller
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.
How to Heal a Pulled Shoulder Muscle
A pulled shoulder can cause pain and inflammation.

A pulled shoulder muscle can cause excruciating pain and immobility in your shoulder. According to Sports Injury Handbooks, pulled muscles are one of the most common sports injuries, although you can also pull a shoulder muscle from everyday activities such as lifting or reaching. A muscle pull occurs when a sudden force rips some of your muscle fibers. You don't have to suffer endlessly, however. You can usually treat a pulled shoulder muscle with a combination of rest and specific home remedies. Consult your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis.

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Step 1

Apply ice until the swelling decreases. According to Sports Injury Handbooks, ice helps relax the shoulder muscle and prevents spasms. Ice also stops any bleeding and can help reduce pain. Ice your shoulder for 20 minutes, then stop. Keep this cycle going for as long as possible over the next several days.

Step 2

Wrap your shoulder with an ace bandage to help compress the area and keep it supported. According to, keep your arm elevated above your heart level and sleep with your arm elevated on a pillow.

Step 3

Take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever such as ibuprofen. Ask your doctor about the right dosage for you. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these usually help but you should not use them for more than two weeks.

Step 4

Rest your shoulder for seven days. Avoid activities that cause you pain or additional strain. Don't avoid activity altogether, however. suggests that you exercise other muscles, such as through walking, to prevent deconditioning.

Step 5

Take a vitamin C and beta carotene supplement. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these two nutrients work together to create connective tissue and may help reduce pain.

Step 6

Apply a gel containing aescin, the active ingredient in horse chestnut, to your shoulder every two to three hours. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, topical application of this ingredient may help reduce swelling and feelings of tenderness.

Step 7

Consult a physical therapist after seven days of rest. According to, torn and pulled muscles are more likely to tear again. A physical therapist can help you develop better habits and teach you stretches and more effective methods of using your shoulder for specific activities, such as lifting or sports.

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