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If you are having difficulties in throwing a baseball, hitting an overhead smash, painting or doing simple chores that require repeated overhead motions, you may be having what is called shoulder impingement syndrome. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain and discomfort, but the good news is that it’s completely treatable!

Impingement Syndrome occurs when your rotator cuff tendons are pinched between the humerus and scapula. Overhead activities like swimming, sports and lifting usually predispose individuals to this condition. Rarely, bone and joint abnormalities may also contribute to Impingement Syndrome.

How does Shoulder Impingement Syndrome present?

Persistent pain and weakness of shoulder muscles, especially while reaching up behind your back and overhead use of the arm are the chief symptoms of Impingement Syndrome. Your daily activities may become so restricted that even putting on a coat or a blouse may turn out to be a painful affair.

At Physician Partners of America, we emphasize on addressing this condition as soon as possible without unnecessary delay. Tendinitis involving the rotator cuff muscles and bursitis are long-term complications of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome. If not treated properly, it may even lead to rotator cuff tear.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis generally begins with medical history and physical examination by a medical professional. Certain common diseases involving the joints, such as arthritis, are required to be ruled out before arriving at the diagnosis. An X-ray is sufficient to determine any abnormality in the region.

In certain cases, your doctor may advise an MRI to see if the rotator cuff muscles have been damaged in any manner.

How is it treated?

Treatment plans for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome involve rest, therapies, medication and if needed, surgery. Modification of activities that cause pain, application of ice and anti-inflammatory pain medications are the first step towards conservative treatment.

Physical therapy through exercise and stretching may help in restoring muscle strength, flexibility and improving overall function. Acupuncture is also effective in some patients. Although oral analgesics are the norm, your physician may also consider cortisone-like injections if the pain is not relieved.

The longer the rotator cuff muscles are impinged, the more damage it can result in. Physician Partners of America recognizes the benefits of early diagnosis, management and treatment, and helps you to get back to your normal life as early as possible.

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