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Pulled Shoulder Muscles During Yoga? Here’s How to Find Relief

Around 20 million people in the US are pressing heels and down-dogging on their yoga mats, trying to gain as many health benefits as they can. Of course, yoga is a great physical activity to improve endurance, strength, and flexibility. This ancient practice helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Most people practice yoga to maintain heart rate, lower blood pressure, and boost metabolism and even fight obesity. But if not done correctly, yoga can be harmful.

The pulled shoulder is one of the most common problems associated with yoga. Since yoga focuses on improving balance, it includes various poses that involve shoulders. Shrugging, for instance, is all about how the shoulders are moved and compressed, which if not done correctly can cause muscle injury.

Finding Relief for Pulled Shoulder Muscle

A pulled shoulder muscle can be painful. The wrong postures can pull muscle fibers in the wrong direction or to the extent that’s beyond capacity. This causes small tears, which leads to pain.

So how do you find relief if you get a pulled shoulder muscle during yoga?

Besides seeking professional help to master all poses, the following tips can help you get rid of the pain and treat your muscles in time.

Stop Right Away

As soon as you realize a muscle injury, stop what you are doing right away. Discontinue the pose and see a doctor before you resume yoga. Continuing exercise with an injured muscle can double the damage and make recovery more challenging and time-consuming.

The first step is to protect it by realizing the problem and finding a solution for it. Avoid doing anything stressful with that shoulder until you see a doctor.

The Icing Method

In case you cannot get an appointment right away, use the icing method to stop blood flow to the injured muscle. This helps with swelling and mitigating the pain. If you are outdoors, get home and grab an ice pack and apply to the affected area. You can even use a bag full of ice cubes to have the same effect.

Also, remember to always use a medium to apply ice to avoid direct contact with skin. Start with applying ice for twenty minutes every hour in a day. If the pain persists and the swelling doesn’t reduce, rush to the hospital immediately.

Compress the Shoulder

The next top is to wrap the affected area to control swelling and pain. A pulled muscle naturally weakens the joint and causes pain if pressure is applied. Using a wrap to compress your shoulder will provide support to the joint and make pain bearable.

Wrapping, in this case, will differ greatly from how you would’ve wrapped your ankle. In fact, to provide the right support, wrap it around the bicep to create the anchor effect. Use the bandage to cover the chest and the opposite arm.

Bring the bandage up again and cover the injured shoulder and around the same bicep once again. Do not make it too tight but make sure it compresses the affected shoulder to avoid swelling.

Take Maximum Rest

In case the injury is not severe, your shoulder should heal after you are done with icing and compressing. But if you allow your shoulder to come under any impact of pressure again, it could disrupt the healing process.

Continue with icing and keep the shoulder wrapped for at least three days. Avoid lifting weights or stretching your arm to grab something out of your reach. It is best if you keep your arm and shoulder elevated and close to your chest. Avoid sleeping on the side of the injured muscle.

Keeping the severity of your injury in mind, it could take up to eight weeks for your shoulder muscle to heal completely. Even when you don’t feel the pain anymore, avoid overstretching or pressurizing your muscles. Start with your regular, slow-paced activities and only indulge in gentle stretches if you continue with yoga.

During your yoga session, avoid pulling too hard on your shoulders and do not overstretch. When in the posture, keep your shoulders straight and held back from the ears. If you find a certain pose difficult to practice, do not hesitate in asking for help from a professional.

Even after you have completely healed, avoid doing intense shoulder stretches for a while. This could be the culprit for shoulder pain and injury. In fact, placing the neck incorrectly and applying pressure can also damage the cervical vertebrae, which leads to severe joint issues and can even cause loss of neck flexion.

If you need, use props to help elevate your shoulder and neck away from the floor to avoid extreme pressure.

Bottom Line

It is best to see a doctor if you suspect severe injury. However, mild ones can be treated at home with a little help. Before you are back to your routine, it is best to check with a physician to get a green signal. Sometimes, you may need to briefly work with a shoulder surgeon or physical therapist to get you back to your normal shoulder movements.


James Crook is a passionate health and fitness blogger. Currently, he is a working as a blogger for Dr. Joe Wilson, Shoulder Specialist NC. Follow @jamescrook911 for more updates.

MFN Contributing Author