Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common cause of shoulder pain. It refers to a space where where a tendon (band of tissue) inside your shoulder rubs or catches on nearby tissue and bone as you lift your arm. This causes irritation to the soft tissue of the rotator cuff. The trouble is often caused by an overload of the sore arm with constant and repetitive movements. Shoulder impingement is common among swimmers and throwing athletes, as well as those who perform physical work requiring repetitive movements of the upper limbs.
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Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement
The most typical symptom of shoulder impingement is pain when raising the hand above shoulder level. There may also be a click in the shoulder joint. Other symptoms may include constant numbness of the hand, muscle weakness and pain in front of the shoulder joint or on the shoulder muscle. The pain often gets worse at night.
Treatment of Shoulder Impingement
Treatment for shoulder impingement includes avoiding painful movements and relieving strain. For an athlete, this often means taking a break from sports training. However, total rest is not recommended in order to prevent shoulder joint stiffening. Pain can be relieved with cold therapy and inflammatory medications. Physical therapy and active exercise therapy have been found to be an effective treatment for shoulder impingement syndrome. With exercise therapy, gradual strengthening of the rotator cuff and shoulder muscles is key. Pain relief and recovery with exercise therapy is achieved within about 6 months.
Prevention of Shoulder Impingement
As with all stress-related ailments, shoulder impingement is prevented by taking care of good physical fitness as well as sufficient recovery from exercise. Those who do physical or office work should seek ergonomic guidance from an occupational health physiotherapist. It is essential for highly active people and athletes to plan training programs together with a skilled coach and, if necessary, a physical therapist to monitor the overall load and recovery of the training.
David Shoulder Reference Centers
David is the largest supplier of medical shoulder equipment with more than 100 intelligent installations worldwide. At these locations, certified physiotherapists are trained to guide people with shoulder impingement complaints using medical Exercise Therapy guidelines. Visit our reference page for more information about a shoulder center in your own country/area.