10 Jun Treating Shoulder Impingement
The shoulder is one of the most complex and mobile joints in your body. While the shoulder has a great range of motion, the joint is not very stable. Shoulder impingement is a fairly common cause of shoulder pain in athletes and individuals that frequently use their shoulders.
At East End Occupational Therapy, we offer treatment for various conditions that can affect the shoulders. To learn more about how our upper extremity therapists treat shoulder impingement, continue reading below.
What is Shoulder Impingement?
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement is also known as swimmer’s shoulder because it is common in swimmers. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that attach your arm to your shoulder and help you rotate and lift your arm. The rotator cuff sits under the acromion.
If you are dealing with shoulder impingement, the rotator cuff rubs against the acromion. The increased pressure in this area leads to impingement. The telltale symptom of impingement is sudden pain in the shoulder when you lift your arm backward or overhead, but other symptoms may include:
- Shoulder or arm weakness.
- Pain that worsens at night.
- Pain that travels from the front of your shoulder to the side of your arm.
- Lingering pain in your arm.
What Causes Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder impingement is mainly caused by overuse. Repetitive motions and use of the shoulder can cause the tendons in your shoulder to swell, causing them to catch on your upper shoulder bone. Individuals who partake in sports requiring using their shoulders for overhead or forceful motions are at risk of developing shoulder impingement. Swimmers, baseball players, and tennis players fall into this category.
Those who work in professions that require a lot of heavy lifting or arm movements are also at risk. Previous shoulder injuries and old age are also risk factors for shoulder impingement. It’s essential to seek out treatment for shoulder impingement as soon as possible to avoid serious complications. Here are some potential complications you may put yourself at risk for when you leave this condition untreated:
- Loss of strength.
- Chronic pain.
- Inability to perform lifting or throwing motions.
- Trouble sleeping due to discomfort.
- Difficulty holding up your arm.
Occupational therapy is a form of therapy that helps patients overcome physical issues and maintain an active lifestyle. This non-invasive approach can help patients adjust to new life circumstances. When it comes to treating shoulder impingement, occupational therapy can provide optimal treatment by:
- Improving range of motion and flexibility in the shoulder.
- Showing patients activity modifications to complete everyday tasks when their shoulder is in pain.
- Restoring function to the shoulder after an injury.
- Helping patients recover from surgery.
Treating Shoulder Impingement
Nonsurgical treatment is frequently recommended for shoulder impingement. Actively participating in therapy as a primary treatment for this condition can help patients avoid therapy and may deliver similar outcomes to those who’ve had decompression surgery.
Our team at East End Occupational Therapy has advanced knowledge in the complex structures of the shoulder joint and how these structures contribute to shoulder stability and movement. Our highly skilled upper extremity therapists will help you manage your pain by identifying the actions that cause your pain and recommend modifications to activities to reduce shoulder impingement.
During your first appointment, we will evaluate your medical history and your current complaints. Then we will determine the pain’s intensity and what aggravates and eases your problem. Depending on the level of your impingement, our team will determine the appropriate exercises to progress your shoulder and utilize hands-on therapy techniques for proper shoulder movement to avoid this condition in the future.
We will also educate you on the proper shoulder mechanics to help you get back to functioning pain-free. If you need surgery for your shoulder impingement, our therapists will help you progress through a rehabilitative program based on your unique needs.
Contact East End OT
Shoulder impingement can get in the way of your life. Working with a trusted team of upper extremity therapists can help you make a full recovery. Contact our team at East End Occupational Therapy today to schedule your appointment!