Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is typically caused by repetitive overhead activities, usually in swimmers,tennis players and throwers. The injury occurs at the tendons of the Rotator Cuff muscles, where they become irritated and inflamed as the tendons pass again and again through the subacromial space, a passage beneath the acromion process in the shoulder complex. Repetitive rubbing of the tendon under the bone cause irritation and swelling of the tendons.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Shoulder pain in most daily activities especially reaching up behind the back or reaching up overhead (combing hair, putting on clothing,washing the hair) and often night pain.
  • Inflammation and swelling of the shoulder
  • Weakness and disability in lifting up the arm, espeically in the middle ranges
  • Grinding or popping sensation during movement of the shoulder

Diagnosis:

Physiotherapists usually ask some questions to find out how the pain may have occured, or if there are any ongoing aggravating factors that can be causing the pain. 

Some orthopedic tests can be done, twisting and elevating the patient’s arm to provoke the pain. Sometimes physiotherapist sends the patient to do a MRI in order to detect rotator cuff muscle pathology.

Treatment:

Physiotherapists at Physio Savvy employ various treatment techniques to improve pain and function. The main aims will be:

  • To reduce the inflammation in acute phase (early stage) by icing and ultrasound and some gentle stretching
  • To improve range of movement by applying some joint mobilisations and soft tissue release techniques
  • To regain strength in the muscles by  teaching some strengthening exercises for all rotator cuff and other shoulder muscles. Our experts can apply correcting taping techniques to re-position the shoulder blade an shoulder joint to reduce pressure or rubbing of the inflamed structures.
  • Reducing the aggravation on the rotator cuff by stopping those movements which aggravate the pain, and resting the arm until the pain is gone. During this time the prescribed exercises will be continued to stop further weakening or shrinking of the muscles.

In a scenario where conservative treatment is not enough, often an injection can be given by a orthopedic specialist to relieve the pain and swelling. Results may vary from person to person for this.

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Parisa Tanoori

Parisa Tanoori

Physiotherapist at Physio Savvy
Parisa is certified with a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from Shiraz University of Medical Science, Iran. She is currently completing her PhD in Sports Medicine with the special interest of Kinesiology taping in Universiti Malaya.
Parisa Tanoori

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Posted in Musculoskeletal Disorders.