This entry was posted on Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Shoulder pain is a common complaint for which patients are seen in chiropractic practice. A common cause of shoulder pain is the impingement syndrome. A common sign of an impingement syndrome is a painful arc in which shoulder pain is present when elevating the arm to the side between approximately 60° to 120°. Pain is usually minimal or not present below the 60° level and goes away or greatly diminishes after approximately 120°.

Pain is produced in an impingement syndrome when tissues that pass through a space between the head of the humerus and the acromion process of the scapula become pinched and irritated. Tissues that pass through this space include the subacromial bursa, the rotator cuff tendons, the glenohumeral capsule and the long bicipital tendon.

Exercises that are commonly helpful for the management of impingement syndromes include strengthening the biceps, latissimus dorsi and all of the rotator cuff muscles EXCEPT the one(s) that are impinged. Stretching of the deltoid and triceps muscles is also frequently beneficial.

If conservative treatment, including rest, icing, strengthening exercises and stretching, does not produce the desired improvement further evaluation may be necessary to rule out possible arthritic spurring and/or an abnormal acromial shape which can narrow the space that these tissues pass through. Nerve damage is another possible cause of an impingement syndrome.

Impingement syndromes, like many musculoskeletal problems, can frequently be managed conservatively thus avoiding surgery. If you experience shoulder and/or other musculoskeletal problems which are not resolving with basic home care seek the advice of a healthcare professional who is familiar with these types of conditions.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog is for general discussion and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used for the diagnoses or treatment of any disease or condition. It should not serve as a substitute for being evaluated by a certified health care provider. Any information or product discussed on this blog is not a substitute for the care of your physician or other health care provider.