Shoulder impingement | Chiro & Sports Med
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Shoulder impingement

Home > Conditions > Shoulder > Shoulder impingement

One of the more common physical complaints is shoulder pain. Since several different structures form the shoulder, it is often susceptible to a number of problems. Impingement of the rotator cuff is usually a frequent cause of pain within the shoulder.

Anatomy of the shoulder

Your shoulder consists of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), along with your collarbone (clavicle). Your arm is held in your shoulder socket by the rotator cuff. These muscles and tendons create a covering across the head of the upper arm and attaches to the shoulder blade. There is a lubricating sac known as the bursa, which lies between the rotator cuff and the bone on the very top of the shoulder (acromion). The bursa enables the rotator cuff tendons to glide freely on moving your arm.

Classification of shoulder pain

Pain is the result of the following:

  • Tendinitis. The rotator cuff tendons are often irritated or damaged.
  • Bursitis. The bursa may become inflamed and swell with additional fluid causing pain.
  • Impingement. Whenever you lift up your arm to shoulder height, the room between the acromion and rotator cuff narrows. The acromion can rub against (or “impinge” on) the tendon and the bursa, causing irritation and pain.

Cause of shoulder pain

Rotator cuff pain frequently occurs in both young athletes and middle-aged people. Young athletes using their arms overhead for swimming, baseball, and tennis are particularly vulnerable. Individuals who do repetitive lifting or overhead activities while using the arm, including paper hanging, construction, or painting are susceptible to injury as well.

Symptoms of shoulder pain

Rotator cuff pain commonly causes local swelling and tenderness at the front of the shoulder. You may experience pain and stiffness if you raise your arm. There could also be a pain once the arm is lowered from a heightened position. Early symptoms may include:

  • Minor pain which is present both with activity and also at rest
  • Pain radiating from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
  • Sudden pain with lifting and reaching movement
  • Athletes in overhead sports often have pain when throwing or serving a tennis ball

As the problem progresses, the symptoms increase. These include:

  • Pain at night
  • Loss of strength and motion
  • Difficulty doing activities that position the arm behind your back, for instance, buttoning or zippering

Treatment for shoulder pain

The objective of chiropractic treatment is to relieve pain and restore function. In planning your treatment, your chiropractor will consider your age, level of activity, and overall health. Generally, initial treatment methods are nonsurgical. Although the non-surgical treatment could take many weeks to months, many patients notice a gradual improvement and get back to function.

  • Rest. Your chiropractor might point to rest and activity modification, like avoiding overhead activities.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like Voltaren can reduce pain and swelling.
  • Physical rehabilitation. Your chiropractor will initially concentrate on restoring normal motion for your shoulder. Stretches to enhance a range of flexibility are certainly helpful. As soon as your pain is improving, your chiropractor will start a strengthening program for your rotator cuff muscles.
  • Steroid injection. If rest, medications, and physical therapy do not relieve your pain, a cortisone injection may be helpful.
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