Do You Have a Shoulder Impingement?

Happy Wednesday to everyone!  The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Fit and Toned!  It has required me to take some time to really reflect and brainstorm but I am very excited for the future.  Stay tuned to hear more about it!  Anyways, I hope today’s post will help a lot of you that might be struggling with some of these symptoms.  This injury is very common and widespread amongst the population.

Shoulder impingement occurs when the humerus (upper arm) makes contact with the acromion, which is the very top part of your shoulder and attached to your scapula (shoulder blade).  During this impingement, the rotator cuff tendons and bursa are compressed and can become irritated.  Over time, both the rotator cuff and bursa can become inflamed and create pain.



What are the symptoms of shoulder impingement?

  • Pain located in the upper arm anywhere from the shoulder to the elbow and can be sharp, dull, or achy.
  • Pain in the arm as you lift the arm up overhead and it typically begins as your arm reaches shoulder height and above
  • Discomfort during sleeping and/or pain when lying on that shoulder
  • Weakness in the arm particularly with overhead movements
  • Limited range of motion or painful range of motion with tasks such as dressing, washing your hair, reaching overhead, or driving

Shoulder impingement typically occurs over time and gradually worsens.  Occasionally it can be caused by a trauma but often times, it is due to repetitive irritation.  When there is weakness in the muscles surrounding the shoulder, including the rotator cuff, the muscles are unable to hold the humerus in proper alignment during overhead movements, therefore creating an impingement.  Having joint laxity, or too much movement, can also contribute to an impingement.  Often times, people think of athletes performing overhead or throwing movements when they think of shoulder impingement.  But poor posture and repetitive arm movements are also a main contributor to shoulder impingement.



What can you do if you have any of these symptoms?  It is often best to catch it early if possible since the longer the impingement occurs, the more inflammation and injury will occur.  One of the easiest things you can do is to work on improving your posture as this will put the shoulder joint in a better alignment.  Sleeping with a pillow under the painful arm is also helpful. However, there is a lot more to resolving a shoulder impingement and having a lasting effect.  It is best to see a Physical Therapist as soon as possible to resolve faulty mechanics, muscle imbalances, joint capsule tightness and scapulo-humeral rhythm.  Feel free to contact me at for advice or to schedule an appointment if you are suffering from these symptoms.


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