Impingement Syndrome

Impingement syndrome describes a painful condition of the shoulder in which  there is an impingement of rotator cuff tendons or bursa in the shoulder.  These tendons and or bursa lie between the head of the humorous and the underside of the acromion process – an area that is known as the sub-acromial space.   Once the tendons / bursa are impinged upon, they become irritated and inflamed resulting pain and restricted range of motion.  Impingement syndrome causes shoulder pain that typically involves a specific painful range of motion, which in many cases, prevents raising the elbow above the level of the shoulder.   

Treating Impingement Syndrome

Like most painful joint conditions, treatment goals for this condition include reducing inflammation and improving range of motion.  Because impingement syndrome is caused by inflammation, pain and subsequent loss of range of motion (because of the pain), treatment has to begin with elimination of aggravating activities and reduction of inflammation.

At my San Diego chiropractic clinic, I use a multifaceted approach when treating impingement syndrome.  Treatment in the office consists of soft tissue mobilization, ultrasound therapy and electrical muscle stimulation.  This condition often causes spasm of the larger muscles groups which represents the bodies attempt to limit the shoulder’s range of motion while it is in the acute phase of injury.  Chiropractic adjustments of the spinal joints in the neck and upper back help to reduce pain, relax the affected muscles and allow the shoulder to regain it’s full range of motion once the inflammation and pain have subsided.  Treatment at home consists of using ice packs on the shoulder to help reduce inflammation as well as taking specific nutritional supplements that are know to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Luckily for my patients, I have suffered two impingement syndromes in my left shoulder, the first one occurred approximately 2 years ago and the second one is a current flair up.  My personal experience with this condition helps me help my patients.

Last updated by at .

Author: Allison Yardley

Allison has 6 years in practice as a Chiropractor's Assistant and is a licensed Massage Therapist who writes for numerous blogs online. Feel free to comment or ask questions regarding any of Alley's blog posts.