SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT

Shoulder impingement is a common cause of shoulder pain.  It occurs when there is an impingement of tendons or bursa in the shoulder from the bones of the shoulder.  Repetitive overhead activities such as swimming, painting, lifting and playing tennis are risk factors for shoulder impingement.

Symptoms you may be experiencing:

  • difficulty reaching up behind the back;
  • pain when lifting your arm to shoulder height, ie when brushing hair or teeth and getting dressed;
  • pain when arm is lifted straight up in the air;
  • comfortable positions can be found when arm is lifted only slightly higher than shoulder-level;
  • weakness of shoulder muscles;
  • pain is persistent and effects daily activities.

Initial care - things to try at home:

  • avoid painful movements and stretching through the front of the shoulder
  • short-term use of anti-inflammatory medications may help to reduce the pain, taken upon consultation with your GP or pharmacist
  • gentle stretching in a warm shower by reaching your thumb up behind your back
  • if experiencing shoulder pain while lying on your back put a small cushion or rolled up towel under the elbow to relieve the pressure on the shoulder
  • icing the shoulder for ten minutes before bed may provide some relief, if you are experiencing pain when sleeping

Our approach to solving your problem:

  1. We use soft tissue techniques to loosen the muscles that are tight and putting pressure on the area through the rotator cuff, the front of the shoulder and around the back of the shoulder blade.
  2. Kinesiology tape is often used to improve shoulder posture.
  3. You will be provided with some exercises and stretches to strengthen the shoulder muscles.
  4. We generally have great results with soft tissue therapy, however, f the symptoms persist, you may be advised to get an MRI or ultrasound to rule out a rotator cuff tear.  We do consider though that there is a very high incidence of rotator cuff tears in women that correlates to age.  Close to 50% of 50yo women and 70% of 70yo women (with this trend continuing as age increases) have rotator cuff tears.  Due to this trend, for women over 50yo, it could be considered normal "wear and tear" to have a rotator cuff tear so, in this age group, an MRI is not usually significant.

We will then create a management plan specific to you to:

  1. help settle the pain;
  2. strengthen the area;
  3. address the causative factors;
  4. get you back to the activities that you enjoy!

If you would like one of our Soft Tissue Therapists to help resolve your shoulder impingement, give us a call on 9894 2463 or book online to make an appointment.