Shoulder strain - symptoms, treatment and prevention

Shoulder strain - symptoms, treatment and prevention

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Strain in the shoulder

The shoulder is an extremely complicated joint consisting of bones, muscles and tendons. Their interaction is important so that the shoulder is so flexible. In everyday life, for example when putting the dishes over head or only when putting on clothes, the shoulder is always part of the game. In the case of a shoulder strain, which occurs frequently and is usually associated with severe pain, "normal" movements can only be carried out to a limited extent.

What is a strain?

A strain is one of the most common sports injuries that can occur anywhere in the body - in the calves, thighs, abdomen, back and also in the shoulder. A strain is not visible from the outside. Footballers, for example, can sing a song about it because they often pull the adductor muscles on the inside of their thighs. When a muscle is pulled, regardless of which muscle is affected, it is stretched excessively. In contrast to a torn muscle, the structure of the muscle remains intact.

Causes of a shoulder strain

As already mentioned, the muscle is stretched too much during a strain, especially in the case of a shoulder strain. The reasons for this are mostly found in sports: sports with overhead movements such as swimming or tennis, but also martial arts can be possible triggers. A fall with an outstretched arm can also lead to a shoulder strain. But wrong movement patterns that overload the shoulder can also be responsible. An untrained person can get a shoulder strain from painting the ceiling of his home.


A shoulder strain, which is usually a minor injury, is associated with severe stabbing pain. The musculoskeletal system is usually severely restricted, so that those affected take a protective posture. Edema develops (swelling) and in severe cases a hematoma (bruising) is added. The affected area is painful from the outside. The muscle reacts with a massive cramp.


Since the shoulder is a highly complex joint, various injuries can occur there. In order to make the correct diagnosis, it is essential to see a doctor for pain in the shoulder area, because from the outside, a shoulder strain cannot be distinguished from a torn muscle fiber, which is extremely important for further treatment. The doctor will have the pain described, asks the person concerned about the triggering moment and uses diagnostic methods such as ultrasound and X-rays and, if necessary, transfers them to an MRI examination.


In the acute state, i.e. immediately after the shoulder strain occurs, immediate cooling of the affected area helps. Either with a cloth dipped in cold water, with an immediate cold compress wrapped in a cloth or with the help of an instant ice pack (good for on the go, pressing the bag cools it down immediately and keeps it for about 20 minutes).

Sports ointments that cool the skin also have a pleasant effect. Another option is to mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with cold water and dip a cloth in it, which is then wrapped around your shoulder. Peppermint oil cools and relieves the pain somewhat. A shoulder strain, like any strain in the body, implies an inflammation that needs to be cured. The shoulder protection, which can be supported by a shoulder strap, is very helpful. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers are prescribed for severe pain.

In the first few days, cooling, stretching and very light movement are advised, otherwise the shoulder is protected. The healing process can be supported by physiotherapy and physiotherapy. Those affected are shown special exercises that should be carried out daily, but it is strongly advised not to overdo the movements. At this point, depending on your condition, you may be treated with heat. A kinesiotape may be created, which has a relaxing, relieving and supportive function. It is important to ensure that the taping is carried out by a specialist. If the shoulder strain was treated immediately after the onset, it will be completely cured after two to three weeks, depending on the severity of the strain.

However, if the complaints are not manageable, a doctor's office must be consulted. Repeated shoulder strains must also be checked with a doctor, since it cannot be ruled out that another illness, such as a chronic infection, may be present.


In order to protect yourself against a strain in the shoulder, overuse should be avoided. Muscles that are not sufficiently warmed tend to be strained during sporting activities. Warming up the muscles and wearing the right sports clothing help to counteract a shoulder strain. A well-trained muscle is usually not overstressed so quickly, but caution against overloading is still necessary. Naturopathy uses the homeopathic remedy arnica preventively, which is taken before training.

The shoulder strain in naturopathy

In addition to therapy in physical practice and the possible use of painkillers, naturopathy can make its contribution. Baunscheidt therapy helps the body deal with the inflammation faster. At the same time, healing is supported with the help of acupuncture.

Those who like to take Schuessler salts are No. 8 sodium chloratum D6 for swelling, No. 3 Ferrum phosphoricum D12 for inflammation, No. 1 Calcium fluoratum D12 for the hardened muscle and also No. 7 Magnesium phosphoricum D6 as “ hot seven ”against the hardening of the muscles and against the pain. In addition to the use of these four salts, the healing process of a shoulder strain can be supported and accelerated by the external use of Schüßler salt ointments.

Homeopathy uses Rhus toxicodendron, Ruta, Arnica and Magnesium phosphoricum. In the pharmacy, some complex agents are available in the form of drops or globules, which help in the treatment of the strain. Applied externally, healing earth wrap, curd wrap and herb wrap promise relief.

Under no circumstances should sufficient therapy be forgotten during the therapy, in the form of still water or herbal tea. The hardened muscle urgently needs moisture from the inside. Furthermore, the inflammation can heal faster by drinking enough.

Rubs with a good, high-quality St. John's wort oil contribute to healing and pain relief. It is best to gently massage the oil from St. John's wort twice a day into the affected area. An ointment containing symphytum (comfrey) accelerates the healing process, especially if a bruise has formed. In these cases, arnica is often prescribed orally and possibly externally as a gel.

Magnesium deficiency

Those who often suffer from strains and cramp-like pain in the muscles may lack the important mineral magnesium. This can be supplied via a food supplement. Magnesium is available in a wide variety of compounds. It is best to get advice before buying. Drinking a "hot sieve" twice a day can do something against the magnesium deficiency in a gentle way. For the "hot sieves", 10 tablets of Schüßler Salt No. 7 Magnesium phosphoricum D6 are poured over with a quarter liter of boiled water and stirred. As soon as the liquid has cooled a little, it is drunk in small sips. If you don't want to take magnesium orally, you can apply it superficially to the skin in the form of a magnesium oil. This is available in every pharmacy. So that the affected areas rub in and the magnesium can already act on the spot. This is particularly recommended for people who cannot tolerate the oral intake of magnesium.

Bitter chocolate and magnesium are two foods that are rich in magnesium. Whole grains, bananas, raspberries, broccoli and peas should also be mentioned. However, if a person is found to be deficient in magnesium, this cannot be remedied by diet alone. For example, six bananas would have to be eaten a day to supply the body with around 300 to 400 mg of magnesium. This is roughly the amount an average adult needs each day. Athletes, pregnant women and nursing mothers have an even greater need for magnesium.

Final word

If a shoulder strain is suspected, medical clarification is definitely important, since the symptoms do not necessarily have to differ from those of a torn muscle. In any case, the affected area should be cooled immediately after the event. Afterwards, it is particularly important to protect the shoulder, because in the event of further stress, despite pain, a muscle strain can easily result in a muscle tear or even a more extensive injury. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Plesch, Christian / Sieven, Rainer / Trzolek, Dieter: Handbook Sports Injuries, Meyer & Meyer, 2015
  • Austria's public health portal: muscle strain, muscle fiber tear, muscle tear (accessed: June 24, 2019), gesundheit.gv.at
  • Mayo Clinic: Muscle strains (accessed: June 24, 2019), mayoclinic.org
  • Harvard Health Publishing: Muscle Strain (accessed: June 24, 2019), health.harvard.edu
  • Hamilton, B / Valle, X. / Rodas G. / et al .: Classification and grading of muscle injuries: a narrative review, British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015, Review

ICD codes for this disease: S43ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.

Video: Rotator cuff tears (July 2022).


  1. Megrel

    Yes, a no bad variant

  2. Sean

    You are absolutely right. There is something in it, including the thought, agrees with you.

  3. Mosar

    sympathetic thinking

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