What does a torn muscle in the shoulder feel like?

Updated February 21, 2017

A torn muscle in the shoulder can cause extreme pain and result in limiting the activity of the arm. Ice packs and analgesics are used to treat continuous and excruciating pain in the shoulder that results in the inability to move the arm.


Causes of shoulder muscle tear are ageing and a sudden movement or repeated movements of the shoulders during bodybuilding, a sporting activity or athletic activity.


Type of shoulder pain include the deltoid shoulder muscle tear, the rotator cuff injury and shoulder impingement.

Deltoid Muscle Tear

A deltoid muscle tear results in the sudden tightening of the shoulder. The arm cannot be used. There is mild to severe pain and swelling and the patient feels a sudden shooting pain when the arm is moved accidentally.

Rotator Cuff Injury

This injury causes difficulties in moving the arm. The patient may feel an immediate pain or a delayed pain. The pain will be in the form of a dull ache or a sharp shooting pain when the arm is moved. The patient will feel weak and the patient cannot sleep on the side of the shoulder with the muscle tear.

Shoulder Impingement

The shoulder muscle catches every time the arm is moved. Each movement of the arm causes increased pain and swelling.

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Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.