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How long is this going to hurt for?

Wednesday I pulled a muscle (or perhaps a few) pulling something down off a shelf at work. My shoulder, upper back by my shoulder, and chest all hurt. As I was pulling it off the shelf, I felt the pain and knew it wasn't going to be fun. I'm right handed and it's on my left side so I've been able to baby it a little. Does anyone know when it will stop hurting? Is it too late to put ice on it? Is it ok to put ice on it when it is that close to my heart?


Asked by tempsingl3mom at 6:47 PM on Jun. 30, 2013 in Health

Level 26 (27,595 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • If you want the pain to go away faster stop heating for about a week or so and start icing as often as you can. Don't leave it on past 20 minutes as the area needs to rewarm to bring in a higher concentration of red & white blood cells. You will get way more of the good stuff in the area with ice vs heat. Heat will cause more inflammatory fluids to leak into the interstitial gaps (space between cells), and that takes longer to break down. That fluid, even if it's not causing visible inflammation, causes healing to slow - therefore you are in pain longer. Intensive ice therapy is one way we get athletes back on the field quicker... the more often you ice the faster you will feel better. Heat is only good when you need to get it moving again and you are out of this initial phase... Good luck!! Shoulder pain sucks that's for sure!!

    Answer by Crafty26 at 7:37 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • It's NEVER TOO LATE for ice!!! ;o) Ice for 20 minutes, let rewarm naturally then ice again!! Proximity to the heart has nothing to do with icing. As an Athletic Trainer, with experience in the sports medicine field for over 15 years this is the kind of thing I eval & treat.
    Please do NOT heat it... that most certainly prolongs healing as you are still in the inflammatory phase. Heat will only help once you have moved out of that phase in a week or two, and it will only help you stretch. Heat is NOT a pain killer.
    If you can take advil (ibuprofin) please do that for a few days as well.
    If you get to Monday and your pain in NOT decreasing steadily see a doc b/c damage may be worse than you think. It's Workman's comp since it happened at work so make sure your boss is aware.


    Answer by Crafty26 at 7:19 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • It's ok skinnyslokita... alternating heat & ice used to be recommenced until modern research has proven heat makes things worse. It does make it feel better for a bit, but on the cellular level it's prolonging your agony! ;o(

    Answer by Crafty26 at 7:40 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • It all depends on what damage the injury did. They typically get better in 4- 6 weeks. You just have to take it easy and let it heal. Isolate your core when doing anything ! It is easy to repull any injury until it has time to fully heal. Make sure to take vitamins and eat healthy to aide in healing. If you have access to a hot tub, they can help to minimize pain and speed up healing.

    Answer by LeJane at 7:02 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • It took me two weeks the first time it happened. I was going to go to see a chiropractor but my aunt gave me one of her muscle relaxers and that did the trick. I'd see how you feel an a few days and if its not getting better go see a dr. That was probably one of the worst pains I've ever felt in my life, recovering from a c section wasn't as painful as that. I'd take some ibuprofen and heat that sucker.

    Answer by skinnyslokita at 7:02 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • I'm not sure but Crafty works in this field! I bet she would have tons of excellent advice.
    Hope it goes away soon!

    Answer by PMSMom10 at 7:09 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • Sorry for telling you to heat it :( even though heating it did help me feel better. crafty is qualified, so if she says not to she's deffinatly the one you should listen to.

    I never iced it so that's nice to know thanks crafty next time it pops out ill have to try that.

    Answer by skinnyslokita at 7:32 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • LeJane - you mean lactic acid build up post work-out??

    Post work-out static stretching is one of the best ways to help pump that out. Even a light warm up and stretching the next day can help decrease DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) you get from that acid build up!!

    Answer by Crafty26 at 7:57 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • Ouch! Feel better soon. When I pulled a shoulder muscle, the physical therapist told me to take Advil and use those hot wraps you can get at Walgreen's or wherever. The heat lasts for hours, and the wraps seemed to help a lot when I had to go on moving and get through the day.

    Answer by Ballad at 7:22 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

  • I too appologize for suggesting heat. I am glad Crafty got us straightened out. :-)

    I have an older injury. Heat with massage helps to reduce my pain.

    Crafty, what can you tell me about acid trapped in the muscles ? What do you suggest ?

    Answer by LeJane at 7:48 PM on Jun. 30, 2013

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