Question on Yoga and pulled shoulder muscles

(November 9, 2010)

I am new at Yoga. My instructor has not said much about breathing except not to hold your breath. During one stretch, I felt like I pulled a muscle in my shoulder muscle. Please advice.


Pulled shoulder muscles occur when the muscles gets too stretched. This pulling and subsequent stretching can result in small tears. Pulled shoulder muscles can be categorized by the level of the severity. Grade 1 of pulled shoulder muscles will cause you very little discomfort and generally, no disability. Grade 2 will have some discomfort along with level of inactivity. There will be severe pain, swelling and bruising in grade 3 of pulled shoulder muscles. You might feel a pulled shoulder pain on immediately moving the shoulder muscle or it can even show up 2-3 days later. The pain depends on the severity of the injury. Practicing yoga for pulled shoulder muscles is of great help. Yoga helps to tone the muscles and makes the joints stable too. It improves the flexibility of the muscles and helps protect them against trauma and injury as well. Swelling or internal bleeding due to the shoulder muscles being pulled can be remedied with an icepack on the affected area. Stretching can also help relieve the immense pain one can experience with this type of injury.

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles that control movement in the shoulder.  A pulled rotator cuff occurs when these muscles are injured. These could be due to strain or age related factors. This is a painful condition and can prevent normal movements of the arm and the shoulder. Utkatasana or the Chair Pose is a useful yoga pose for rotator cuff injuries. This exercise helps to strengthen the  teres minor and infraspinatus muscles. Do consult a physician before trying out any yoga exercise for any injury.

Lower back pain is experienced by many people throughout their lives. More often than not, it is due to pulled back muscles and injury to the back. Studies have shown that certain kinds of yoga like Hatha yoga and Iyengar yoga are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of back pain. One reason why yoga works so well is that the yoga exercises concentrate on gently stretching and massaging the muscles in the back. There are several yoga postures that help with this problem, but the three most effective ones are the: Pelvic Tilt Pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (the Supported Bridge Pose) and Supta Matsyendrasana ( Supine Spinal Twist Pose).

Yoga is also beneficial for pulled knee muscle and other knee injuries. Recommended poses include Virasana (Hero's pose), Balasana (Child's pose) , Paschimottanasana(Seated forward-fold) and Trikonasana (Triangle).

Submitted by A on November 9, 2010 at 06:48

Pulled shoulder muscles can occur when the muscle gets stretched too much causing small tears. Pulled shoulder muscles can be graded by the level of severity. There is a little discomfort and usually no disability in grade one. Activity is not limited in this grade. In grade two there can be some discomfort with an inability to perform high levels of activity. It can also be accompanied with some bruising and swelling. In grade three of pulled shoulder muscles there can be severe pain. There will also be significant bruising and swelling.
The practice of yoga for shoulder injuries is beneficial in the treatment and prevention of shoulder related injuries. Yoga helps in the toning of the muscles and brings stability to the joints. It also protects against injury and trauma and improves flexibility. Shoulder injuries can happen with the practice of power yoga. Yoga positions which are overexerted or aren’t properly done increases the chances of shoulder injuries. Practice of yoga poses for shoulder injuries like mountain pose can be effective.
Frozen shoulder is a common condition that occurs with an inflammation that inhibits movement in the shoulder. Yoga for frozen shoulder involves exercises that are smooth and easy to practice. It will help the shoulders to warm up and make movement smooth. It is important that you are persistent, careful and patient when practicing the yoga for frozen shoulders. Putting too much pressure can cause the injury to become worse. Parvatasana (Mountain pose) is an effective yoga for frozen shoulder.  Practice of this yoga can help relieve and prevent stiffness of the shoulders and rheumatic pain. It brings flexibility to the movements and develops the chest muscles.
 Practice of yoga for knee injuries help in improving the flexibility and strength of the injured knee and also preventing future problems and injuries. Virasana (Hero's pose), Trikonasana (Triangle), Paschimottanasana(Seated forward-fold) and Balasana (Child's pose) are considered effective yoga poses for knee injuries. When practicing Virasana (Hero's pose) where you have to sit between your knees and keep your knees bent, it is possible for the ligaments of your knee to get pulled. Therefore you must be sure to practice it with care and caution.
The injury to the rotator cuff muscles are caused due to their repeated use. The Chair pose is an excellent yoga pose for rotator cuff injuries. Practice of this yoga exercise helps strengthen the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles. However in spite of the benefits of the yoga exercises you should always consult a doctor regarding any kind of injury. Yoga can be complimentary to the treatment prescribed by the doctor. You must also make sure that you practice the yoga exercises under the guidance of a qualified instructor who has experience with patients having shoulder injuries.

Submitted by A on September 17, 2010 at 01:35

First of all, there is seldom any connection between holding one's breath, during Yoga practices, and pulling a muscle. If this happens, it should either be in the chest or abdominal muscles.

In any case, I suggest you take it easy for a couple days and , when you resume your practices, don't strain the affected shoulder. Meanwhile, apply warm fomentation or an oil or balm specially formulated for this purpose.

Submitted by A on April 19, 2007 at 12:04

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