The shoulder joint consists of different muscles that are for moving, protection, and provide a wide range of motion. When one or more of these muscles is pulled or strained it can affect the smallest movements. A pulled shoulder muscle can make simple activities difficult, painful, and impossible. Minor shoulder injuries can heal on their own with home remedies. A serious shoulder muscle injury should be addressed by a medical professional. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. Pulling a muscle in the shoulder can be caused by:

  • Injury
  • Overuse
  • General wear and tear

Pulled Shoulder Muscle Causes

Pulling a shoulder muscle can happen quickly like falling on the shoulder or from a car accident. It can also develop from months or years of working a job where individuals perform repetitive motions with the shoulders and overuse the muscles to the point of strain. No matter the cause, rehabilitation, and recovery depend on the type and severity of the injury.

Common Shoulder Muscle Injuries

The shoulder joint is surrounded by several muscles and tendons and because the shoulder can move so freely, it is a common area for a pull or strain. Different shoulder muscle injuries fall under being pulled or strained.

  • Rotator Cuff Tear
  • Shoulder Tear
  • Shoulder Sprain
  • Shoulder Strain
  • Pulled Muscle in the shoulder blade

A Pulled Muscle or Something Else

Unless an individual is a medical professional or has experienced this type of pain before, it can be hard to tell exactly what the cause is. Shoulder pain can have other or combined causes like inflammation of the tendons and joints, or the joint itself could be causing the injury. Here are a few ways to investigate what is causing shoulder pain.

Pulled Shoulder Muscle Symptoms

  • Pain in the shoulder blade area is characterized by dull, sore, or aching pain.
  • Sometimes shooting pain in the area between the shoulder blades will present, causing pain in the front or back of the shoulder.
  • Shoulder instability of the muscles or tendons.
  • The shoulder feels fragile
  • Movement causes pain
  • A bump can develop at the top of the shoulder near the end of the collarbone
  • General symptoms include:
  • Pain when the shoulder is at rest
  • Pain when the specific muscle is used
  • Tenderness
  • Possible swelling of the area
  • Inability to use the muscle at all

The Seriousness of a Pulled Shoulder Muscle

The majority of the time a pulled shoulder muscle is not serious. If the pain is not severe and it is not the result of an accident, it is okay to utilize home remedies to reduce pain and help the shoulder heal. However, there are symptoms that could indicate a serious injury or medical problem. If you experience shoulder pain and any of the following, seek immediate medical attention.

  • Severe and intense pain
  • Severe, abrupt pain that has no obvious cause
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest numbness or pain
  • Seeing clearly
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Sudden swelling, pain, or redness

For individuals that experience shoulder pain that does not get better over time, seek professional help, even if the pain is mild. A professional will develop the right treatment plan, reduce pain, and generate a healthy recovery, getting the individual back to normal and optimal health.

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Pulled Shoulder Muscle Injury Chiropractic Care

Treatment and Recovery Options

Treatment and recovery plans are different for everyone. This is because it depends on the severity of the pull and the individual’s overall health. Many find that the pain is reduced with home remedies in two or three weeks. Chiropractic treatment for a pulled shoulder muscle can provide relief within one or two weeks.

Home Remedies for Pulled Shoulder Muscles

Depending on the severity and how much pain is presenting taking NSAIDs like Ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling. Individuals can also incorporate the following:


The shoulder should rest for 2 or 3 days. This gets the healing process started and prevents further injuring the area.

Wrap or Sling

During the days of rest, keeping the shoulder from moving can be difficult. To avoid this, wrap the shoulder or utilize a sling to support the arm. Remember that these should not be used for more than 2 or 3 days.

Ice for Swelling

If there is swelling, applying ice to the area can help reduce the inflammation. Apply for 20 minutes every hour. The swelling should begin reducing in a day or two.

Gentle Stretching

Working out the muscles after the 2 or 3 days of rest is important. Stretches will help the muscle group strengthen and heal. Not stretching the muscles and not using them for an extended time could worsen the injury and increase the risk of further injury.

Stretching the Shoulder

As aforementioned not moving/stretching can cause more problems in the long run. Not using the muscle can cause it to atrophy, which means that it will take longer to heal with the surrounding muscles weakening. Gentle stretches for a pulled shoulder muscle include:

Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

  • Bring the affected arm across the body at an angle
  • Cup the elbow of the affected arm with the other hand
  • Use that hand to gently pull the arm toward the body
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds
  • Repeat 3 to 5 times

Pendulum Stretch

  • Bend slightly forward, support the body by placing the non-injured arm on a table or chair
  • Allow the injured arm to hang straight down
  • Start swinging the arm in small circles clockwise that gradually grow wider
  • Do for 1 minute, then switch counterclockwise for another minute
  • Repeat 4 to 8 times throughout the day
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Pulled Shoulder Muscle Injury Chiropractic Care


If home remedies are not enough, then chiropractic can help. Chiropractors use a variety of treatment modalities for pulled shoulder muscles. These include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Manual stretching
  • Ultrasound
  • Cold laser therapy to reduce pain and swelling
  • Health coaching
  • Posture exercises
  • Physical rehabilitative therapy

If the pain is persistent, it could indicate more than a pulled muscle is causing the pain. This could be a pinched nerve or a joint issue. A doctor of chiropractic can develop the best recovery option to get to the root cause.

Body Composition

InBody Spotlight - Rachel Cosgrove of Results Fitness

Women and muscle distribution

Research reveals that women could have a higher distribution of type 1 muscle fibers and lower distribution of type 2 muscle fibers which are more prevalent in men. Type 1 muscle fibers are slow-twitch muscles and are extremely useful in long-endurance activities like long-distance running. Type 1 muscle fibers are also the first ones that activate during any type of exercise. Type 2 are the fast-twitch muscle fibers and get activated when performing powerful or explosive bursts of movements like sprinting.

Because of these muscle-fiber differences, men are likely to excel in training that involves explosive, powerful routines. However, a study found that women can gain more muscle mass using a total body strength training program compared to men. For optimal results mix up the workout with a variety of resistance and strength training routines. This will allow for greater muscle mass growth.

Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*


Kim, Jun-Hee et al. “Comparison of the Shoulder External Rotator Strength and Asymmetry Ratio Between Workers With and Without Shoulder Impingement Syndrome.” Journal of strength and conditioning research, 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003343. 17 Sep. 2019, doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003343

Verniba, Dmitry, and William H Gage. “Stepping threshold with platform-translation and shoulder-pull postural perturbation methods.” Journal of biomechanics vol. 94 (2019): 224-229. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.07.027

Dealing with Painful Trigger Points. Berkeley Wellness. Published September 1, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2018.

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Pulled Shoulder Muscle Injury Chiropractic Care" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Previous articleControl Carpal Tunnel Pain While Driving
Next article*How do we evaluate patients? * Dr. Alex Jimenez | El Paso, Tx (2021)
Dr. Alex Jimenez
Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.