Shoulder Impingement: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

August 30, 2023

Millions of people all around the world suffer from the common orthopaedic ailment known as shoulder impingement. It happens when the shoulder’s supporting tissues are crushed, resulting in ache, stiffness, and discomfort. At Al Hilal Hospitals, we are committed to offering thorough care and successful treatments to help you heal and regain full function in your shoulder. We recognize the negative effects that shoulder impingement can have on your day-to-day activities. In this article, we’ll look at the causes, signs, diagnosis, types of treatment, and length of recovery for shoulder impingement, as well as how physical therapy and exercises can help with rehabilitation.

When the tendons of the rotator cuff and the subacromial bursa (a fluid-filled sac) pass through the small area between the acromion, a bony structure of the shoulder blade, and the top of the arm bone (humerus), shoulder impingement happens. Soft tissues may be pinched by this compression, resulting in pain and suffering.

Causes of shoulder impingment:

Shoulder impingement can develop due to a number of reasons, such as:

  1. Repetitive overhead motions: Over time, repetitive overhead motions in sports like weightlifting, tennis, and swimming can strain the shoulder and cause impingement.
  1. Bad posture: Forward-leaning heads and rounded shoulders might change how the shoulder joint functions, increasing the risk of impingement.
  1. Muscle imbalances: Weakness in the shoulder and upper back muscles can contribute to instability, which can result in poor alignment and impingement.
  1. Bone spurs: Over time, the acromion may develop bone spurs, which can make the subacromial area smaller and increase the risk of impingement.
  1. Growing older: As we age, the bursa and tendons in the shoulder may lose some of their flexibility and become more prone to compression.

Don’t wait to seek medical advice if you have shoulder pain that won’t go away or restricted movement. Make an appointment with our knowledgeable orthopaedic specialists at Al Hilal Hospitals to receive a precise diagnosis and unique treatment recommendations.

Symptoms of Shoulder impingement:

A variety of symptoms may result for the compression, and their intensity will depend on the extent of the impingement and other circumstances. The specific signs of shoulder impingement are listed below:

  1. Shoulder Pain: One of the shoulder impingement’s most prevalent and obvious symptoms is pain. The discomfort usually creeps up on you gradually, and people frequently describe it as a deep, painful shoulder pain. Certain activities, especially those that require overhead movements like reaching up, throwing, or carrying large objects, may make the pain worse.
  2. Discomfort During Rest: People with shoulder impingement may still feel discomfort while dozing off or otherwise relaxing. Particularly frequent are nighttime aches, which can get worse if you lie on the shoulder in question.
  1. Limited Range of Motion: Shoulder impingement can restrict movement and stiffen the shoulder that is affected. Due to the restricted range of motion, tasks like reaching across the body, fastening a seatbelt, or combing one’s hair may become challenging.
  1. weakening: Shoulder muscular weakening can result from discomfort and inflammation brought on by impingements. As a result, people could find it difficult to carry out tasks that call for shoulder power, such as lifting objects or carrying large loads.
  1. Pain Associated with Certain Motions: Shoulder impingement pain may be aggravated or brought on by specific movements. Reaching upward, tossing a ball, and performing repetitive arm motions are examples of common tasks that might cause pain.
  1. Clicking or Popping Sensation: When moving the impinged shoulder, some people with shoulder impingement may hear clicking or popping noises. These noises could be the result of tendons rubbing against bones or other shoulder joint components.
  1. Shoulder Weakness and Instability: As shoulder impingement worsens, the muscles surrounding the joint may become weakened, resulting in instability. This instability may further restrict range of motion and exacerbate a weak shoulder sensation.
  1. Gradual Onset: Rather than appearing suddenly, shoulder impingement symptoms typically appear gradually over time. People may first feel some modest discomfort, which gets worse over the course of weeks or months.
  1. Radiation of Pain: In a few instances, shoulder impingement pain may extend all the way to the elbow from the shoulder down the arm. This type of discomfort is frequently referred to as “referred pain.”
  1. Tenderness of the Muscles: The affected shoulder may become sensitive to touch, especially over the front and side of the shoulder joint where the impingement is taking place.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Impingement:

You must contact a doctor right away if you are having shoulder impingement symptoms. Our knowledgeable orthopaedic doctors at Al Hilal Hospitals will perform a complete physical examination and may suggest the following diagnostic tests:

  1. X-rays: To examine the bones and obviate other problems, such as arthritis.
  1. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): To see the bursa and other soft tissues, such as tendons, in order to spot any inflammation or rips.
  1. Ultrasound: This imaging technique can also be used to examine the soft tissues of the shoulder and find anomalies.

Treatment of Shoulder Impingement:

At Al Hilal Hospitals, we provide a variety of treatment choices that are suited to the unique requirements and conditions of each patient. The therapy program may consist of:

  1. Conservative therapies: In many situations, non-surgical methods such as rest, ice, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy can effectively treat shoulder impingement.
  1. Exercises for Shoulder Impingement: Specific exercises can help to improve posture, strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder, and increase shoulder stability. Common exercises consist of:
  1. A pendulum stretch is performed by gently bending at the waist while allowing the affected arm to dangle down. Swing it to the side, then back and forth.
  1. External Rotation: Hold the affected arm near the body and rotate it outward using a resistance band.
  1. Scapular Squeeze: Squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for a short period of time before releasing.
  1. Physical therapy for shoulder impingement: Our skilled physical therapists will create a specialized treatment plan to ease your pain, increase range of motion, and regain strength and functionality in your shoulder.

Surgical intervention may be considered if conservative therapy is ineffective in providing enough relief. Our accomplished orthopaedic surgeons at Al Hilal Hospitals provide cutting-edge arthroscopic methods to treat shoulder impingement. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that results in fewer scars, shorter healing times, and smaller incisions.

Al Hilal Hospitals is committed to offering thorough shoulder impingement treatment alternatives, including physical therapy and exercises, to assist you in getting over discomfort and regaining function. Our objective is to help you transition to a pain-free and active lifestyle, whether through non-surgical methods or cutting-edge arthroscopic treatments. Take the first step towards a healthier, happier shoulder by getting in touch with us right away. Call us now to book your appointment.