shoulder impingement

Is My Shoulder Pain a Sign of Shoulder Impingement?

Sometimes referred to as swimmers’ shoulder, shoulder impingement is a common and painful condition. The trouble is, it can easily be overlooked, particularly in athletes and those who like to hit the gym frequently. Shoulder pain is often considered a normal part of exercise and training. So, how do you know whether or not you’re actually suffering from shoulder impingement?

Here, you’ll discover more about shoulder impingement and the symptoms it presents. We will also reveal the treatment options available and whether it can be prevented.

What is shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement is typically caused by the bursa or tendons rubbing against the blade of the shoulder. It tends to occur due to overuse and worsens over time if left untreated. As the bursa or tendons continuously rub against the shoulder blade, it caused inflammation and pain. It also leads the bursa or tendons to become trapped or compressed when the arm is lifted overhead.

Understanding the symptoms of shoulder impingement

Like all shoulder injuries, the main symptom you’ll feel with shoulder impingement is pain. Specifically, you’ll find it difficult to raise your arm past your shoulder. You’ll also experience pain when reaching your arm behind your back.

Alongside pain, other shoulder impingement symptoms include:

  • Stiffness and throbbing
  • Aching
  • Loss of strength
  • Difficulty using the shoulder

It isn’t uncommon to experience stiffness and throbbing. Patients have often referred to the pain experienced as more of a toothache type pain. Even when resting the arm, you may also find it aches a lot, and there may be a loss of strength in the shoulder.

As the condition worsens over time, you’ll start to have difficulty using the shoulder and the strength in the arm will decrease further.

Is shoulder impingement preventable?

While it isn’t always possible to prevent shoulder impingement, there are some measures you can take to reduce your chances of developing it.

Building up the strength in your shoulders is a good idea, particularly if you’ll be using them frequently in a competitive sport environment. You’ll also want to make sure you warm up correctly before exercising.

Ensuring you’re using the correct techniques for the sport you’re competing in will also help. Then finally, giving the shoulders adequate rest between exercise is crucial.

How is shoulder impingement treated?

If you suspect you are suffering from shoulder impingement, it’s important to seek a diagnosis as quickly as possible. The earlier it is spotted, the easier it will be to treat. To start, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy may be recommended for mild cases.

Ultrasound-guided injections may also be used and combined with physiotherapy before surgery is considered. If non-invasive treatments don’t work, surgery may be recommended. Here, the surgeon will widen the area around the rotator cuff to prevent any friction. If a rotator cuff tear is identified, surgery may also be required to repair that too.

There are many different potential causes of shoulder pain, but if you experience pain using overhead movements, it could point to shoulder impingement. Book a consultation today to get to the cause of your shoulder pain and identify the best treatment method to resolve it.