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  • Writer's pictureAndray Voronov

Understanding shoulder impingement: Causes, symptoms and treatment



Does reaching overhead or lifting heavy objects cause you excruciating pain in your shoulder? symptoms like this may indicate a shoulder impingement, a common condition affecting the shoulder joint. In this post, we'll examine the definition, causes, and treatment options for shoulder impingement.


Impingement of the Shoulder: What Is It?


When the rotator cuff tendons, bursae (fluid-filled sacs), or shoulder muscles in your shoulder become trapped or pinched, this is known as shoulder impingement. This can lead to discomfort, swelling, and a reduction in your range of motion in your affected arm and shoulder.


Is there a way to prevent impingement in the shoulder?


There are several factors that can contribute to the development of shoulder impingement, including:


  • Exercises requiring constant overhead motion, like weightlifting or playing a sport, can cause muscle strain.

  • Slouching or hunching over a computer or desk is an example of poor posture.

  • Weak or tight muscles in the shoulder and upper back

  • Arthritis or other degenerative conditions that cause the space in your shoulder to narrow

  • Shoulder impingement syndrome may also occur after an injury or trauma to the shoulder joint.


Shoulder impingement can cause a wide range of symptoms, but the most common ones are:


  • Shoulder pain, especially with overhead motions or when carrying a heavy load.

  • Insufficiency of strength in the arm or shoulder

  • Stiffness or limited range of motion in the shoulder joint

  • Pain or swelling in the shoulder

  • A clicking or popping sound when moving the shoulder

  • Pain in the shoulder when laying on that side


If you are experiencing symptoms of shoulder impingement, it's important to professional advice. Your osteopath may recommend one or more of the following treatments:


  • Exercise therapy: This can help to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your shoulder and upper back, reducing the risk of impingement and improving your overall shoulder function.

  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can help to reduce pain and swelling.

  • Cortisone injections: These injections can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the short term.

  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove any damaged tissue in the shoulder.


Summed up:

  • Shoulder impingements are a common condition caused by repetitive overhead movements, poor posture, weak muscles, and other factors.

  • Symptoms include pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint.

  • Treatment options include exercise therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, and surgery.

Reference List:

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2021). Shoulder Impingement. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/shoulder-impingement

  • Mayo Clinic. (2021). Shoulder Impingement. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shoulder-impingement/symptoms-

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