Health Conditions:

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

What is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

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.

What causes Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

Repetitive overhead arm movements, such as those involved in activities like swimming, volleyball, tennis or similar sports as well as heavy overhead weight lifting usually predispose individuals to this condition. This pain may also develop as a result of falling onto the shoulder or ones outstretched arm. In rare cases, bone and joint abnormalities may also contribute to Impingement Syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

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.

Symptoms include:

  • arm weakness
  • intensified pain when lifting your arm, especially above your head
  • pain in the top and outer side of your shoulder
  • irregular sleep patterns due to night pains

Treating and Diagnosing Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

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.

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.

Live a healthy, prosperous life. Choose Physician Partners of America for all your healthcare needs.