Disclaimer: Please be aware that information in this article is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding an injury or medical condition.
Written by: Emilie Smale, Certified Athletic Therapist
The shoulder is a very mobile joint comprised of many muscles, ligaments, and tendons. With so many different structures in a small space, impingement and pain in the shoulder is very common. Your shoulder is made up of three bones; your upper arm (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). The three bones are held together with ligaments and supported by muscles. The muscles that are primarily involved in shoulder impingements are the rotator cuff muscles. A shoulder impingement is when there is decreased space between the top point of your shoulder blade (acromion) and the rotator cuff tendons. This decreased space causes rubbing/friction, resulting in pain, decreased range of motion, and often decreased strength due to pain.
his injury is common in all ages. It is seen most often in sports where the arm is overhead, such as volleyball, swimming, and baseball. Have you been remodeling your house during quarantine? It is also seen in people who frequently do activities such as painting and construction due to the overuse of overhead motions. It has also been seen in people who do a lot of computer work caused by a slouched, internally rotated shoulder position.
Things to look for if you suspect a shoulder impingement injury:
This injury can be frustrating for the individual to live with as it may hinder many activities of daily living. Luckily, there is hope. Once you have been diagnosed with this injury, your treatment plan will most likely involve a combination of heat, massage, and postural corrective exercises. See below for a variety of exercises to try to rehab a shoulder impingement. These exercises will help strengthen the upper back and posterior shoulder muscles, helping to keep your shoulders pulled back and out of that impinged position.
Prone I Y T
Laying face down, tuck your chin in and pull your shoulder blades back. Try to keep shoulders out of a shrugged position and away from your ears.
Banded External Rotation
Anchor your band next to your uninjured arm. Reach across your body to grab the band with your injured arm. Keeping your elbow at a 90-degree angle, shoulders pulled back and down, and your elbow tucked into your side, pull the band across your body and slowly return to the starting position.
With your back to a wall, place your shoulder blades, bent arms, and low back flat against the wall. Slowly slide your arms up the wall, maintaining contact, as if making a snow angel. Only lift your arms to a comfortable position, then slowly slide back down to the starting position.
This injury often involves tight chest (pectoral) muscles pulling your shoulder forward into an impinged position. Try this stretch to help increase the flexibility of your pectoralis muscles.
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