Shoulder impingement is a common condition. It describes ‘pinching’ or crowding in the shoulder in a space called the subacromial space. The subacromial space becomes narrowed with overhead movements. Continued crowding or pinching may lead to:
- Tendinitis and tendinopathy – tendons are irritated and breakdown
- Bursitis – fluid sack designed for lubrication becomes inflamed.
Shoulder impingement is a classic misdiagnosis. Not everyone with shoulder pain on arm elevation has impingement. Not all ‘impingements’ are due to a weak rotator cuff. Every single person can impinge their shoulder with enough arm elevation and this is completely normal. Shoulder impingement may be more accurately describes as subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS).
Impingement syndrome can be categorised by the following:
- Anatomical variation in the shape of the acromion (type II or III)
- Overuse or repetitive stress
- Poor rotator cuff strength
- Poor shoulder biomechanics
- Shoulder instability
Shoulder pain is the most common symptom shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS). This usually comes from a combination of irritation to the bursa and rotator cuff tendons.
- Pain during rest and during activity
- Shoulder pain at night
- Loss of strength and weakness
- Difficulty elevating the shoulder
- Difficulty doing up a bra (internal rotation)
The treatment of shoulder impingement is related to many factors such as the nature, severity and cause. Chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments are valuable for this condition. Contact your chiro, physio or medical doctor for more information.
Read more about shoulder conditions here
- Shoulder pain overview
- Rotator cuff tear
- Biceps tendon tear in shoulder
- Chronic shoulder instability
- The unstable painful shoulder
- The weak painful shoulder
- The stiff painful shoulder
- Dislocated shoulder
- SLAP tears of the shoulder
- Arthritis of the shoulder
- Biceps tendinitis of the shoulder