Does your shoulder hurt when reaching high up into a cupboard, with your overhead swing or while you sleep? You might have an impingement syndrome. Luckily many of these injuries can be treated before leading to worse injuries such as muscle tears or bursitis. The shoulder complex is made up of numerous bony structures (the shoulder blade (acromion), collar bone and humerus), as well as soft tissue structures (muscles, tendons and ligaments). The bony structures must be positioned correctly to maintain an appropriate amount of space between them, which will prevent friction of the soft tissue structures when performing movements with the arm. The soft tissue structures must also be strong enough and flexible enough to control the movements of the bony structures as we perform our day to day activities. In some cases, the natural shape of the acromion can be hooked, which would cause pinching as well. The soft tissue structures that are most often affected are the bursa, a fluid filled sac, and the rotator cuff muscles or tendons because they sit between the acromion and humerus; two bony structures. As we lift our arm overhead, the humerus should slide downwards and the shoulder blade should lift up, allowing for the appropriate amount of space to be maintained. If it doesn’t, there is a pinching of the structures. Repeated pinching or long standing pinching of these structures will lead to inflammation and pain as well as reduced mobility of the shoulder. (insert photos side by side) What can you change in your daily life that will prevent or help the problem? Follow these 4 Easy Tips…
1) Avoid sleeping on the shoulder that hurts and avoid sleeping with your arm under your pillow.
2) Avoid repetitive movements overhead that are painful.
3) Be conscious of your posture (avoid slouching at your desk and keep your mouse close to your body).
4) If you are active and play sports such as tennis, volleyball, badminton, etc, which require repetitive efforts from the shoulders, make sure you properly stretch immediately afterwards and maintain a balance in strength around your upper back and rotator cuff muscles.
For more information or to book an appointment, call 514-684-9073.