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How to fix shoulder impingement with chiropractic care in 5 steps
Are you ignoring your nagging shoulder pain? Has it been months and nothing has changed? Unsure why your pain started and how you can help yourself? Shoulder impingement can cause serious pain if left unattended. Our chiropractor in Burlington has helped many people with rotator cuff injuries or shoulder pain.
Rosalina came to our clinic two months ago with a shoulder pain, she did not know how it happened. After asking her more questions, it appeared that Rosalina was working out in her basement everyday using weight and other props. Fortunately, the shoulder impingement didn't end up being a tear.
She did a 4-weeks treatment plan receiving manual therapy, modalities to reduce the inflammation. She also did some stretching. After her shoulder got more mobile, she started some strengthening exercises. Soon after, she was a lot better!
I’m gonna take you through 5 simple steps for effective shoulder impingement treatment. There are no tricks or secrets, just effective chiropractic care essentials to help you get back to enjoying your activities pain-free.
What Is Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder impingement is a common cause of shoulder pain. It occurs when there is too much friction due to sudden movements activating the shoulder or repetitive movements such as doing an activity like painting, swimming or lifting . Other examples include tennis, and other overhead sports.
With a shoulder impingement syndrome, pain can be persistent and affect your everyday life. Motions such as reaching up behind the back or reaching up overhead to put on a coat or blouse, for example, may cause a shoulder pain.
Over time, it can lead to an inflammation of the rotator cuff which is called tendinitis or bursitis. If not treated appropriately, the rotator cuff tendons can start to thin and tear. If that happen, you may need surgery!
That's why it is so important to take care of it as soon as possible. There are different treatment options and sometimes, getting a cortisone shot can help in reducing the inflammation and the pain all together. Speak to your chiropractor or your sport medicine doctor.
Chiropractic care can be a great option for your painful shoulder. Let me show you how...
How To Fix Shoulder Impingement With Chiropractic Care In 5 Steps
Step 1: Avoid Aggravating Activities
One of the worst things you can do is to continue with activities that are painful. If I can share one piece of advice with you, it’s to avoid or minimize activities that aggravate the shoulder pain. Your body needs time to rest and heal from the wear and tear created by every day activities.
Movement (see below) can continually pinch or compress your shoulder tendons and prolong your injury. Listen to your body. If it hurts, stop.
Step 2: Ice
Ice is a natural anti-inflammatory. When it comes to shoulder impingement there will be some inflammation contributing to your pain. Putting an ice pack helps to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Apply an ice pack for about 15 minutes
- If no ice pack, use ice from your fridge and wrap it with a cloth
- Apply 3 times a day
I love giving patients the most bang for their buck and this method of icing definitely delivers the most effective way to reduce inflammation without freezing your skin.
Step 3: Mobilize
Chiropractors have a saying “motion is lotion”. This means that your joints love to move and stay healthy when they keep moving. Your shoulder being like any other joint is happier when it moves than when it stays still.
Here are three different type of exercise I recommend:
1. Standing arm swings
This is a great warmup exercise that helps to increase blood flow to the shoulder joint. It can help improve mobility and flexibility in your shoulder and upper back.
To do this exercise:
- Stand tall with your arms by your sides
- Engage your core and swing your arms forward until they’re as high as you can go. Make sure you don’t raise your shoulders
- Return your arms to the starting position and repeat this movement for 30 to 60 seconds
2. Shoulder pass-through
The shoulder pass-through exercise helps to increase joint mobility while still engaging the surrounding muscles of the shoulder. This exercise requires a holding a long stick, like a broomstick or PVC pipe.
To do this exercise:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms in front of your body
- Hold a stick with an overhand grip. Your arms will be wider than shoulder-width. Make sure the stick is parallel to the floor
- Engage your core and slowly raise the stick above your head, keeping your arms straight. Only go as far as comfortable
- Hold the pose for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat 5 times
3. High-to-low rows
Hi-to-low rows challenge the upper back and thoracic muscles, which provide a lot of stability to the shoulder joint. This exercise requires a resistance band. You can either ask your chiropractor or buy it at a retail store or even online. It's not expensive!
To do this exercise:
- Secure a resistance band to a sturdy object above shoulder height
- Kneel down on one knee and grab the band with the opposite hand. The other hand can rest at your side
- Pull the band toward your body while keeping your torso and arm straight. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together
- Return to the starting position and repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side
Step 4: Stretch
How many of you got told to always stretch before doing any activities? It's preventative and will avoid sourness the next day!
Since the stretches listed below fall under the category of static stretches, consider doing them after a workout or immediately following a warmup that includes dynamic stretches.
1. Cross-arm stretch
The cross-arm stretch targets the shoulder muscle. You should feel a good stretch in the back of your shoulder.
To do this stretch:
- Stand up and bring your right arm up to a little less than shoulder height
- Place your left hand on your right or left arm and gently pull your right arm across your body using the left or right hand to support your arm
- Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side 5 times
2. Doorway stretch
The doorway stretch allows you to stretch each side of your chest individually, which helps if one side is tighter than the other. This stretch helps to open the pectoralis muscles in your chest and increases the range of motion in your shoulders.
To do this stretch:
- Stand in a doorway with elbows and arms forming a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be in a split stance
- Bring your right arm up to shoulder height and place your palm and forearm on the doorway
- Gently lean into the stretch, only going as far as comfortable
- Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds. Change sides and repeat. Perform on each side 2–3 times
3. Child’s Pose
It is more common to see this exercise in yoga. Child’s Pose is a good way to open the shoulder joint into flexion and to stretch your back muscles
To do this stretch:
- Kneel on an exercise mat. Make sure your body is upright
- Slowly crawl your hands forward until your arms are extended in front of you. Keep your gaze downward
- Lower your torso onto your thighs and your forehead on the ground
- Hold this position while taking three deep breaths. Repeat 3–5 times
What To Do If Your Shoulder Pain Persist?
As mentioned in the earlier part of this blog, I will recommend to visit your chiropractor or speak to your sport medicine doctor. You may need a referral from your family doctor for that. However, if you live in Burlington, feel free to contact us. Dr. Maggie is a very experienced chiropractor in Burlington and can definitely help you!
Pillars of Wellness is an integrated care clinic with multiple health services. Chiropractic care is an important part of your health routine as chiropractors make sure your spine is aligned to maximize your health overall.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office. We are open every day (except Sundays).
Absolutely. Chiropractic of shoulder impingement is an effective option for your painful shoulder. Chiropractors can provide shoulder pain treatment including:
- Chiropractic adjustments to help with joint mobility and alignment
- Soft tissue therapy to reduce tension in tight muscles and tendons
- A customized stretching and strengthening program
Most of the time, health insurance will cover this service. However, it’s always best to check first. Many of our patients are covered for chiropractic and can be treated in our health centre in Burlington.
Yes, they can. Our chiropractor is certified and experienced in treating children. You won't find too many family chiropractic clinics in Burlington. Most chiropractors treat adults’ patients regarding pain or neck pain but not necessarily practice pediatric chiropractic care. Our staff ensure you receive the best possible service to improve your health overall.