Shoulder Impingement

Our Physiotherapist of Chiropractor can help you!

Working every day can be very stressful and tiring. Many folks have to face soreness, fatigue, and strains after working for long hours in the same positions, while others who take part in strenuous exercises and sports suffer other injuries and physical conditions that can range from mild to severely debilitating.

You should be aware of your body’s limits. Take care of yourself by focusing on any signs your body may be giving, both physically and mentally, so you can quickly get treated before your condition progresses and becomes much worse. One of the struggles numerous individuals tend to overlook is “Shoulder Impingement”.

What is shoulder impingement?

According to WebMD, shoulder impingement is a common contributor to shoulder pain. It is also referred as impingement syndrome, swimmer’s shoulder or thrower’s syndrome since it commonly affects people who exclusively use their shoulders like throwers, baseball players, swimmers, and softball players.

Shoulder impingement involves a collection of muscles known as the rotator cuff that actively takes part in the protection, elevation, and rotation of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff is in close proximity to the upper shoulder bone, so it gets caught against the acromion with every movement of the shoulder, making the space between the muscles and the bone narrower. The increased pressure because of the narrowing irritates the cuff which causes shoulder impingement.

What causes shoulder impingement?

According to the Health Line, overuse is usually the main cause in various cases of shoulder impingement. Repetitive use of your shoulder can result in the swelling of the shoulder tendons which causes them to rub and catch on the shoulder bone. In some cases, there is no obvious cause.

What are the risk factors?

Activities that involve abnormal, extensive or repetitive shoulder activity are the main causatives. These activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Baseball
  • Old age
  • Previous shoulder injuries like dislocations
  • Tennis
  • Abnormal acromion processes
  • Painting
  • Construction work
  • Moving boxes

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms you can expect with shoulder impingement include:

  • Shoulder or arm weakness
  • Pain that flares up at night
  • Mild but a consistent pain in the arm
  • Sudden pain when moving the shoulder
  • Pain that radiates from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm

How do you diagnose it?

Your doctor will begin by taking a history of any previous injuries as well as the type, frequency, and intensity of your exercise routines. They will then ask you to perform a combination of movements with your shoulder while they focus on any abnormal motion or conditions like a pinched nerve.

In some cases, doctors can ask for an X-ray to rule out arthritis or find other bone conditions like spurs that could cause shoulder impingement. If your doctor suspects that you have a more severe rotator cuff condition or they are still unable to get a diagnose, they may suggest an MRI scan to get a better idea of your shoulder’s condition.

How do you treat shoulder impingement?

There are various kinds of treatment options available for shoulder impingement, depending on the severity of your condition. These include:

Home remedies

Rest is pretty much crucial when it comes to fixing shoulder impingement. You should stay away from\ strenuous exercise or any activities that make your pain worse. This is especially important in the case of athletes looking to heal faster.

While it’s ideal to avoid excessively moving your shoulder, you should never use a sling to completely stop any arm movement. This can result in more weakness, soreness or stiffness in the shoulder. You should try icing your shoulder for about 10-15 a few times a day to minimize the pain as well as the swelling you could have.

Physical therapy

Shoulder impingement typically fairs well against physical therapy, which involves mild to moderate exercises that rebuild strength and improve your degree of motion. You can opt for a physical therapist that specializes in shoulder joints to get the proper treatments and routines. Pillars of Wellness can help you connect with the right professional for your condition and needs.

Most physical therapy routines typically focus on the muscles of the shoulder, arm, and chest, so that you can help heal the rotator cuff. If you’re an athlete or take part in physical activities that involve heavy lifting or excessive use of your shoulders, a physical therapist can recommend appropriate techniques to minimize the risk of recurrence.


Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen brands such as Advil or Motrin can effectively minimize your swelling and shoulder pain. If these products, as well as ice and rest, don’t treat your pain, your doctor can suggest steroid injections to deal with the swelling and pain.


If conservative treatments don’t work effectively, you might need surgery to expand the space surrounding the rotator cuff. This helps the rotator cuff move freely without rubbing on or putting stress on the shoulder bone.

The surgery is typically done with a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure. That said, more extreme cases can require conservative open surgery. In rare cases, your rotator cuff can be torn, and then you’ll likely need surgery to fix the tear. After any sort of shoulder surgery, you may be required to wear an arm sling for a short period of time.

How physical therapy helped Lee Turner overcome his shoulder impingement

Lee was an avid weight lifter and exercise junkie who started developing pain and soreness every time he used his shoulders during his exercises. Worried, he decided to stop his physical activity and rest his shoulders. However, over time his pain only got worse.

Lee finally decided to visit a physical therapist who suggested that he was overworking his shoulders and suddenly stopping his workouts strained the shoulders even more. After four weeks of intense and consistent physical therapy sessions, Lee was back to his exercise routine good as new!

Pillars of Wellness provides people with a wide variety of treatment options including Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Yoga, Naturopathy and much more. Call now and get an appointment for a better, healthy lifestyle!