Due to the complexity of the shoulder and the large amount of movement within this ball-in-socket joint, it is very common for injuries to arise. Here’s a list of some injuries to be discussed over the next couple of weeks:

  • shoulder impingement syndrome
  • rotator cuff tears
  • adhesive capsulitis (aka frozen shoulder)
  • tendonitis/bursitis of the shoulder
  • labral tears
  • shoulder instability in relation to shoulder dislocations

So today let’s go over shoulder impingement syndrome. This is one of the most prevalent shoulder injuries as it can also be present with other injuries listed above. This occurs when the space between the tendons and the bony portion above the bursa (see image) gets narrowed and pinches one or more structures of the joint – further causing a dull and achey pain when moving the arm.

Symptoms may include: dull/achey pain with lifting the arm up or above shoulder level, reaching behind the back, moving the arm overhead like reaching up into the cupboards or changing a light bulb, and weakness/fatigue of the shoulder muscles. It is crucial to address this condition early on as it can lead to tearing of one or more rotator cuff muscles or other serious injuries. (If you don’t know what the rotator cuff muscles are, look back in the previous posts).

Common causes of shoulder impingement may include:

  • bone spurs/growth 
  • poor posture
  • structural abnormalities of the bones that surround the shoulder joint
  • weakness of rotator cuff muscles
  • joint capsule tightness
  • chronic overhead use of the shoulder (overhead athletes such as baseball, volleyball, tennis players) resulting in irritation of RC tendons
  • shoulder muscle imbalances

So what can you do to treat shoulder impingement?

Early onset of pain management may include: use of NSAIDS (over the counter pain med), icing the shoulder, avoiding painful movements, strengthening rotator cuff muscles, being mindful about having good posture and stretching the muscles within the shoulder, chest and upper back. If this pain continues to persist despite these conservative treatment strategies, see a physical therapist you trust to help you rehab through this injury before it worsens. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to comment below or message me personally!

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