A pulled muscle generally shows such symptoms as pain during use of the shoulder (or in the shoulder at rest), overall weakness of the shoulder, and swelling, redness or bruising on the muscle, according to WebMD. In extreme cases, the patient loses the ability to use the shoulder muscle.
Pulling the shoulder muscle refers to damage that happens during a normal day's activities. Such experiences as participation in sports, sudden lifting or handling tasks for work can result in pulled muscles in the shoulder. A pull sometimes involves tearing some of the tendons and muscle fibers. In some cases, bruising, local bleeding and nerve irritation all happen as part of the injury, as stated by WebMD.
Treating the pulled muscle at home begins with using ice packs on the muscle and holding the muscle in its stretched position. After the swelling has gone down, heat is often effective, but in the early stages, heat often boosts pain and swelling. Also, taking nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, alleviates pain and improves mobility. People with kidney disease or gastrointestinal bleeding disorders should not take these types of medication. Protecting the shoulder, elevating it when possible and providing ice and rest all help recovery as well, notes WebMD.