impingement syndrome is when the rotator cuff tendons and/or bursa (a fluid
filled sac) gets pinched under the boney
structures of the shoulder (the acromion) with certain ranges of motion. This
can limit the range of motion and can feel like a pinching sensation
do you notice the pain?
You will notice the pain when trying to do
overhead movements, where these structures will get pinched.
does it hurt?
It will hurt around the top of the
does it happen?
Commonly it stems
from poor posture and muscle instability. The rotator cuff tendons are intended
to help center the humeral head in place, so when these muscles are weak they
can’t do its job.
When there is
misalignment of the humeral head, the rotator cuff tendons can experience
friction during movement, which can lead to inflammation.
in turn leads to swelling, which reduces the space available in the joint.
As a result, the
rotator cuff tendons can get pinched during movement and can limit the range of
motion in the shoulder.
can I help it go away?
Therapeutic exercises and stretches! We
want to help stretch the muscles that are tight and strengthen the muscles that
Stretch of the Week for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
Here you can use a can of soup or a light
weight. Keep your arm heavy as you sway
the body so the arm can move in circles. Try 20 circles one way and 20 circles
the other way.
This is a great exercise to help open up
the shoulder joint prior to exercise! It is also a great pain-reducing
Prehab for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
Alphabet on Wall
This is a great proprioceptive exercise.
What is proprioception?
Proprioception is the ability to know where
our body is in space, otherwise known as joint position sense. Our shoulder in
particular can achieve many positions outside our range of vision (for
instance, throwing a baseball or football). Therefore, proprioception is
especially important in the shoulder joint!
Try 3 times through the alphabet, drawing
capital letters. Your stabilizer muscles will be working very hard to keep the
shoulder in its proper place, and you will likely get fatigued.
Need an added challenge? Try closing your
Rehab For Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
This, in my opinion, is one of the most important facets in any chronic shoulder injury rehab!
SO many chronic shoulder injuries stem from
poor posture. If you can master great posture, you can reduce your chance for
many chronic shoulder injuries, such as shoulder impingement syndrome!
I refer to the shoulder blades
as the ‘core’ of the upper back. Many of us complete tasks that contribute to a
rounded (forward) posture: sitting at your computer and looking at your phone. As
the shoulders round forward, the chest muscles tighten, the back muscles weaken
and thus, the shoulders cannot move optimally. Over time this can lead to injury!
To set your
shoulder blades properly, squeeze them down and in towards each other. Notice I
am not shrugging my shoulders upwards during this. It should be a pretty subtle
movement by pinching the shoulder blades together. A common analogy is to
imagine squeezing a golf ball between your shoulder blades.
I recommend practicing
scapular setting as often as you can. For instance, when you hit a red light do
10 repetitions, or when you walk through a doorway, set your shoulder blades.
At first, try to reach 3 sets of 10 repetitions of scapular setting 3 times daily.
Make it a habit so this more optimal posture becomes your new normal. You
should set your shoulder blades before you lift something up or reach up high
Also, if you notice your shoulders rounding forward
while sitting at your desk or in the car, cue yourself to set your shoulder
blades back. This is a very important factor when rehabilitating and preventing
shoulder injuries and it will also help you achieve better posture.
Therapeutic Workout for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
- Mini Band Bilateral ER: with a mini band wrapped around your wrists, set your shoulder blades and push your wrists out into the band and hold. Hold for 5 seconds and aim for 3 sets of 10
- Scaption with Resistance band: with your arm at a 45 degree angle in front of you, stand on the resistance band and hold it in your hand with the thumb pointed to the sky. Bring the arm up (no further then shoulder height) and return back to neutral. Repeat 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- 2 Arm Row: Set the shoulder blades and pull both ends of resistance band towards you, while keeping your elbows tight to the body. 3 sets of 10 reps
- Ts: you can lay flat on the ground or lay face down onto a stability ball. With your arms out to the side and thumbs pointed to the sky, squeeze the shoulder blades together and return to the starting position. This is a subtle movement: aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Try implementing this into
your existing exercise routine!