If you’ve ever had pain in your shoulders when you try to raise your arm, lift overhead, or grab plates, milk, or other objects from your kitchen, you could be dealing with shoulder impingement syndrome – also known as rotator cuff impingement.

Shoulder impingement usually has some sharp pinching as you go and raise the arm and can often be very sore and achy after it is used or after sleeping on it.

This type of condition is called impingement syndrome because your rotator cuff tendons literally get “impinged” or pinched between the top of the shoulder joint and the AC joint.

This type of injury can be caused by different types of AC joints (Acromions), existing shoulder arthritis, poor posture, or weakness of certain muscles within the rotator cuff.

What happens if you basically have less space for the shoulder joint to move, thus causing pinching, bumping, and pressure on important structures within the joint?

Think about it like this… if you were in a room where the ceilings were only 5-6 feet, you may have space, but you may not.  Doing certain activities and movements can lead to you “bumping” into the ceiling causing some pain.

What happens if you do not treat it?

Well, this can lead to more arthritis, bursitis, tendinopathy, tendinitis, and fraying or tearing of the rotator cuff muscles.  Unfortunately, this can lead to surgery if not taken care of.

Typically, tendonitis and bursitis are usually the first symptoms as the shoulder gets acute inflammation.  After weeks, it eventually turns into more of a tendinosis and then the tendon can start to fray.

This is typically when you’ll see injections of cortisone into the shoulder that can help provide pain relief but this is JUST the start of fixing the symptoms, not the cause.  In addition, there are only so many shots you can get before there are negative side effects.

So what’s the good news?
Believe it or not, this shoulder impingement is usually very easy to fix… if you do the right things.

One of the MAJOR causes of shoulder impingement is poor posture within the upper back!  Namely, thoracic spine extension.  This position of the back creates a forward or rounded shoulder posture.  Again, there are other reasons, such as a “hooked” Acromion, but even in these cases, we see a lot of shoulder pain resolve when the right rehab and soft tissue are done.

That’s all for now, but if you have shoulder pain, let me know if you’d let us help!

Dr. Josh

PS If you have not been here before or it has been a while, we can even set up a FREE Discovery Session Now! You’ll get the chance to come in, ask us any questions you have, and get a free screening to see if we can help.  Yes, it’s free.