The shoulder is a complex joint that consists of numerous tendons, ligaments and muscles that allow the arm to move in several directions. But due to the fact that there are so many different structures that make up the shoulder, it’s also very vulnerable to many different problems. As a result, shoulder pain in New York City is very common, and shoulder impingement is one of the primary conditions that causes it.
To understand shoulder impingement, it’s important to first get a basic idea of how the shoulder works. The shoulder is made up of the following three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The humerus and scapular are surrounded and connected by the rotator cuff, which is a group of muscles and tendons that keeps the shoulder stable and allows for the ball-and-socket movements of the joint. There is also a fluid-filled sac called the bursa between the rotator cuff and a bony prominence on the top of the scapula (acromion), and its function is to provide a cushion during movement.
In shoulder impingement, the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed—or “impinged”—as they pass through the narrow space beneath the acromion. Over time, this causes the tendons to become irritated and inflamed, and will lead to bothersome symptoms. The most common symptoms of shoulder impingement are:
- Pain, which may be present both at rest and when moving the shoulder overhead, behind the body or to the side
- Pain when sleeping on the injured shoulder and with throwing motions
- Restricted shoulder movement
- Loss of shoulder strength
- Swelling and tenderness
Shoulder impingement most frequently occurs in individuals that perform lots of overhead activities on a regular basis, especially athletes involved in sports like golf, baseball, swimming, tennis and other racquet sports. Occupations such as painting and construction, as well as osteoarthritis and other injuries, can also contribute to the development of shoulder impingement and lead to shoulder pain in New York City.
If shoulder impingement does develop, it’s important to get appropriate treatment as soon as possible, since other conditions may develop otherwise. Our therapists at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy can effectively treat shoulder impingement with the following:
- Activity modification/functional training: therapists will teach you how to avoid painful movements and to correct those that may increase impingement, especially if your job or sport involve lots of overhead movements
- Range of motion exercises: since shoulder movement will be limited, these exercises will help increase your flexibility gradually to get it back to normal
- Strengthening exercises: weakness is another problem, and these exercises will increase rotator cuff and scapular muscle strength to improve your function
- Manual therapy: your therapist will also perform gentle joint movements and soft-tissue massage to help your shoulder start to move properly again
- Posture education: having rounded or forward shoulder posture can contribute to impingement, so your therapist may educate you on how to improve your posture
If you’re experiencing shoulder pain in New York City that may be the result of shoulder impingement, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy is here to help. Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, and read our next blog for a success story on a patient with impingement syndrome who improved with a course of physical therapy. Click here for more information on shoulder impingement.