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Shoulder Impingement - 4 Factors Behind It!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Nitin Bansal 87% (15 ratings)
MS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedic Doctor, Bathinda  •  12 years experience
Shoulder Impingement - 4 Factors Behind It!

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a condition of the shoulder that is characterized by feeling of pain and weakness while lifting the arm overhead. A tendon, known as the rotator cuff tendon, attaches the tip of the upper arm to the shoulder. Impingement of the shoulder occurs when this tendon is trapped in the sub acromial space. The sub acromial space is the space near the shoulder joint where the tendon goes through.
When the tendon is trapped, it tends to scrape against the bone, resulting in excruciating pain. The pain aggravates if you are performing overhead movements such as painting or swimming.

The symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome are:

  1. Feeling of pain while lifting the arm overhead
  2. Any lateral raising movement may also cause pain
  3. Sleeping at night may be problematic as lying on one side of the body may cause pain
  4. Clicking sounds while performing exercises such as the overhead press

Shoulder impingement syndrome can be caused by a number of factors; some of them are:

  1. Swelling of the rotator cuff: The rotator cuff tendon may swell on account of a shoulder injury.
  2. Bone spurs: If there are bone spurs in the sub acromial space, then it may narrow down the space making it easier for the tendon to rub against the bone.
  3. Accumulation of calciumIn some cases, calcium deposits tend to accumulate in the rotator cuff tendon leading to shoulder impingement.
  4. Inflammation of the bursa: The bursa is a sac filled with fluid cushions bones; inflammation of the bursa may also result in shoulder impingement

If you are suffering from a shoulder impingement syndrome, you may adopt the following strategies to deal with it:

  1. Rest: Make sure you do not perform activities that could aggravate the pain; allow the affected area to rest so that it heals faster.
  2. Medications: Medicines such as NSAIDs help in reducing the pain to provide temporary relief.
  3. Exercise: Adopt various external rotation exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff tendon and prevent shoulder impingement syndrome.

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