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Shoulder Impingement

What is Shoulder Impingement?

Whilst not technically a diagnosis “shoulder impingement” is a phenomenon we commonly see particularly in the gym environment. It occurs when the humeral head moves upwards hitting or impinging upon the acromion process (part of the shoulder blade).

Sufferers will typically notice a pinch when lifting the arm or exercises such as swimming, boxing, shoulder press, lateral raise, upright row, bench press varieties etc.

The impinging of the bone on bone may irritate and even damage the rotator cuff tendons that occupy the space between the humeral head and acromion.  A sub acromial bursa also occupies this space and acts a lubricating strip. However with excessive impingement this may also become painful and inflamed.

 

How does Shoulder Impingement happen?

  • Desk jobs and poor posture can course thoracic kyphosis and forward head posture or stooping like the Hunchback of Notre Dame 

    Shoulder_Impingement_Denver

    elevation of the humeral head may impinge rotator cuff tendons or the sub acromial bursa

  • Muscle imbalance can cause poor resting positions and movement biomechanics
  • Coexisting injury such as rotator cuff tendinopathy or tears
  • Training program errors such as balance and excessive volume or “too much too soon”
  • Poor exercise technique

 

What Get Active Physiotherapy does to treat Shoulder impingement.

  • Perform a subjective history and objective examination to determine which of the many potential causes are relevant to your case.
  • Treat excessive muscle tension with massage or dry needling
  • Treat tight thoracic spines or shoulder joints with joint mobilization
  • Modify current training regimes to prevent further aggravation/damage
  • Prescribe customized rehabilitation to correct posture, muscle balance and biomechanics