Q:

What constitutes a pulled shoulder blade muscle?

A:

A pulled shoulder muscle is characterized by a stretch or tear of the rhomboid muscles in the upper back that connect the shoulder blade's inner edges to the spine, according to Summit Medical Group. The muscle typically spasms with a sudden tightening sensation.

A pulled shoulder blade muscle can be caused by injury, such as excessive exercise; stretching; sleeping positions; or carrying heavy objects, explains the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Aging can cause bones to become brittle and weaker, which may lead to a pulled muscle in the shoulder blade. Bursitis may cause pain associated with a pulled shoulder blade muscle. When the bursae, fluid-filled sacs between the bones and muscles, no longer contracts or relaxes muscles, the shoulder blade can become inflated or inflamed, causing discomfort.

Muscle strains are often treated primarily with rest. An individual must cease activities that caused pain or muscle pulls within the shoulder blade until it heals, notes Summit Medical Group. A mild strain or muscle pull may heal within weeks, whereas severe injuries may take up to six weeks to heal. After an evaluation, physicians may recommend mild stretching and strengthening exercises to speed up the healing process. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed. Home remedies to reduce pain and swelling include ice packs applied for 20 minutes at least three or four times daily.

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