Signs & Symptoms of a Pulled Muscle in the Arm

By Teresa Justine Kelly

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Every golfer recognizes the pain of a pulled muscle in the arm. The repetitive motion of the golf swing can contribute to muscle strain, causing small tears in the muscle. Here are ways to recognize the symptoms, methods to care for a pulled muscle and preventive measures to take to avoid the occurrence of a pulled muscle in the arm.


Signs of a pulled muscle in the arm are sharp pains or spasms that are recurring. Swelling in the arm as a result of a buildup of fluids inside the muscle tear and a sensation of tenderness are usually signs of a pulled muscle. You may be unable to move your arm freely because of the swelling, making your arm feel tight and stiff. Any exertion, for instance lifting your club in your backswing, will feel extremely painful.


Pulled muscles in the arm can be caused by repetitive activity, exercise or sports activites like golf. If you go directly to your golf game without warming up and stretching the muscles beforehand, the likelihood of muscle tears and strains is increased. Muscles that are tight and stiff are susceptible to tears and strain.


At the first sign of a pulled muscle, discontinue your golf games or any activity that could cause further strain to your arm, and apply an ice pack to the injured area. If the pain is consistent and does not go away after a few days, visit your doctor. He may order an x-ray to rule out the possibility of a break in the bone. If the muscle strain is severe, a splint may be prescribed in order to keep the arm still, allowing it to heal.

Healing Process

Give your arm the proper care and allow it to heal. Abstain from any type of exertion or activity until the tenderness and swelling have disappeared. The healing process in a pulled muscle in the arm usually takes from one to two weeks. After the pain has subsided, ease into your golf routine.


Before you begin your golf game, or any type of exercise, always make it a habit to warm up tight muscles. Stretching the muscles, making them loose and supple will greatly help in the prevention of pulled and strained muscles. Here are some examples of warm-up activities. Taking your club in a horizontal position, with your left hand on the clubhead and your right hand in the grip, reach overhead and stretch your arms, holding that position for a few seconds to loosen and stretch arm muscles. Take the club back past your head as far back as is comfortable. With this same position, bend from side to side, stretching not only the arms, but the hips as well. Release the club, and with your right arm, reach up to the sky, keeping the arm close to your right ear. Bend the arm backwards at the elbow. Take your left hand and press the right elbow back, stretching the triceps. Hold this position for a few seconds; then do the same exercise with your left arm.

About the Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.