Do you experience shoulder pain when cleaning the house, playing catch, or doing yard work? Are activities that used to be easy and pain free now more difficult and uncomfortable? Is pain in your shoulder stopping you from doing something you love?
Don’t worry. Shoulder pain is one of the most common physical complaints and is often caused by a common and treatable condition known as shoulder impingement.
Shoulder impingement occurs when the rotator cuff is pinched between your upper arm bone (humerus) and shoulder blade (scapula). There are four muscles in the shoulder that make up the rotator cuff. Their responsibility is to control and stabilize the upper arm bone during arm movement. If this system is not working appropriately, particularly when raising the arm, the upper arm bone can migrate upwards and the rotator cuff can be pinched under the top part of the shoulder blade (acromion). Localized pain can occur when the tendon or bursa becomes inflamed, called tendonitis/bursitis.
The number one risk factor for shoulder impingement is highly repetitive or sustained overhead activity. Your likelihood of experiencing shoulder pain increases with poor posture or a weak rotator cuff.
There are two scenarios where shoulder impingement frequently occurs:
However, sometimes there is no known cause for shoulder impingement. Over time, joint degeneration or rotator cuff weakness can contribute to these symptoms in any individual, regardless of the number of overhead activities you partake in.
Thankfully this condition is well understood and conservative care by a physical therapist can be quite effective. An evaluation at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy will help you determine the specific underlying cause of your shoulder pain, as well as offer you solutions for how to get rid of your pain.
As symptoms subside, your therapist will focus on the functional needs of your shoulder and get you back to doing the things you love without pain.
If you encounter any of the symptoms mentioned above, watch this simple one minute test video and try these tests on your own. If the shoulder pain you experience is reproduced or increased, call Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy and begin your road to a healthier, happier, and more functional shoulder!