Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Well done! You’ve taken the first steps to understanding and relieving your Shoulder Impingement Syndrome! Once you read this page answer the questions on the sheet given by your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia and bring that to your next treatment session. Recovery from your Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is crucial in order to achieve your goals and gain rapid and long-lasting results. Your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia has requested that you read this page so that you understand your condition and know how to best manage in between physiotherapy consultations.

What is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

shoulder joint The two main “ball and socket” joints in your body are your hip joint, and your shoulder joint. The hip joint is a very stable joint, decreasing the range of motion of the joint by increasing the bony surfaces and ligamentous material, and therefore making it less prone to injury and/or dislocation. The shoulder joint, by comparison, is required to be a very mobile joint. Because of the mobility of the shoulder joint, it sacrifices the stability gained through bony and ligamentous structures. It therefore relies on the Rotator Cuff, a series of four muscles that work together to provide the joint with relative stability, while not sacrificing mobility. Shoulder Impingement Syndrome happens when one or more of these muscles, usually the supraspinatus, or less commonly the infraspinatus or teres minor, becomes intermittently trapped or compressed during shoulder movements, causing injury to the shoulder tendons and bursa, resulting in painful movement of the shoulder.

What caused my Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is usually caused by weakness of the rotator cuff muscles due to degeneration or inactivity, or poor posture and biomechanics. Injury can occur occasionally even with minor trauma to the area. Rotator Cuff degeneration is very common in people over 65, and although it can often be completely pain free, it will often lead to changes in biomechanics which may in turn cause Shoulder Impingement Syndrome.

How can you help me with my Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

impingment syndrome A detailed history, taken by your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician, of the pain or injury can determine the underlying cause of your Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, while a physical assessment of the shoulder, and surrounding structures, can determine the best course of action in treating the condition. Usually, treatment will involve correcting any abnormal movements of the shoulder, and increasing the subacromial space (the space between the roof of the “socket”, and the “ball” of the shoulder joint), to reduce the any impingement of the tendons of the rotator cuff tendons, and the subacromial bursa.

What should I do to avoid aggravating my Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

  • AVOID overhead activities, particularly during the acute phase.
  • DO concentrate on maintaining good, erect posture, particularly during activities with that involve the shoulders.
  • Applying non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may help to reduce pain in the short term. CONSULT your PHARMACIST regarding their use.
  • REMAIN ACTIVE, but avoid aggravating activities.
  • RECEIVE physiotherapy care to get your joints, ligaments and muscles de-loaded and moving freely with no restrictions.
Keep good care of your body and your physiotherapist will continue to monitor your condition. Once your Shoulder Impingement Syndrome has resolved you will be able to resume your full activities without worrying about future flare-ups.    
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