Shoulder impingement syndrome is a very common cause of shoulder pain. It occurs when shoulder structures become pinched between the narrow opening between the top of the arm bone (humeral head) and the tip of the shoulder blade (acromiom). The pinched structures may include: the fluid filled sub-acromial bursa sac; the top rotator cuff tendons; and/ or the biceps tendon. Impingement of these structures may lead to further damage in the form of shoulder bursitis, rotator cuff injuries and biceps tendonitis/ tendinopathy respectively.

Shoulder Impingement usually results from poor shoulder posture, degenerative shoulder changes or repetitive strain from overuse (often with overhead activities). Symptoms may include: weakness of the shoulder; pain with reaching behind you back; pain with lifting arm overhead; and pain with repetitive shoulder movements. Pain is most often felt along the side and front of the shoulder or the side of the upper arm. Some people may experience an arch of pain when reaching overhead.

It is important to have early access to a Physiotherapist to determine the exact cause of pain symptoms and start appropriate treatments. Failure to seek treatment may result in fraying of the rotator cuff or biceps and lead to a tear, that may need surgical intervention. Common physiotherapy treatments include: anti-inflammatory modalities (ultrasound and ice); stretches; strengthening; postural correction; taping and activity modification. Most people respond well to physiotherapy treatment and will be able to return to pre-injury activities in 6-8 weeks.

Do not delay. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, call a Physiotherapist today.