Four common causes of shoulder impingement

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Shoulder pain is a common complaint of athletes and people who work physically demanding jobs, but it can affect anybody in certain conditions. One of the most common conditions that causes shoulder pain is shoulder impingement.

Shoulder impingement is the painful pinching of your muscles, tendons and other soft tissue in your rotator cuff. They can get caught between your shoulder bones while moving your arm, resulting in a sharp, painful pinching sensation, which is why shoulder impingement is often referred to as a pinched shoulder.

A pinched shoulder is a problem because it is painful and limits your range of motion. In extreme cases, surgery might be necessary to repair the damage, but in most cases, physical therapy can help you recover.

There are several different causes of shoulder impingement. Knowing about them can help you take precautions to lower your risk and avoid shoulder pain.

Four causes of shoulder impingement

  1. Overuse of the shoulder — Repetitive shoulder motions, such as throwing a baseball or football or swimming on a regular basis, can irritate and inflame the soft tissue in your shoulder. Inflamed tissue swells, which can cause it to become more likely to be pinched in between the shoulder bones.
  2. Injury — A torn rotator cuff or a torn labrum can cause soft tissue in your shoulder to be pinched between the shoulder bones.
  3. Arthritis — Arthritis can cause changes to the structure of your joints as it breaks down the cartilage in them. It can alter the shape of your shoulder enough to cause it to be more easy for the soft tissue to get trapped between the bones.
  4. Genetics — You could inherit a naturally smaller subacromial space, which is the space between the bones in your shoulder joint. A smaller subacromial space is more likely to snag the soft tissue of your shoulder.

Treatment for shoulder impingement

Treatments for shoulder impingement vary depending on the severity and other personal factors, such as age, weight and medical history. In some cases, all you might need is a little rest. In extreme cases, you might need surgery. However, most of the time, people will need physical therapy to recover.

Physical therapists can guide you through a range of exercises and other treatments to help improve the condition of your muscles and soft tissue and to improve your range of motion. These treatments can also help lower your chances of further pain and injury. 

Visit Armor Physical Therapy for shoulder impingement treatment

Do you have a sharp pain in your shoulder related to shoulder impingement? Our team at Armor Physical Therapy can help. We can guide you through a personalized treatment routine to help you recover from the pain and improve the use of your shoulder. Contact our team today for more information about treating shoulder impingement or to schedule an initial appointment.

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