Shoulder impingement can affect us so badly that it may restrict the normal movement of our arms. With the help of this article, learn to recognize the symptoms of this syndrome.
Shoulder impingement symptoms show up when there is some injury to the rotator cuff muscles. When these injured muscles swell up, it results in an increase in the pressure inside the muscles. As a result, the normal blood flow of the surrounding blood vessels gets badly affected. Due to this decrease in blood flow, the muscles become weak. This can also occur along with other problems of the shoulder, like shoulder bursitis and rotator cuff tendonitis.
Possibility of Occurrence
Shoulder impingement syndrome is most commonly seen in elderly people due to degeneration of the shoulder muscles and bones. However, athletes who are involved with sports like swimming, baseball, volleyball, tennis, etc. are also prone to it. Those who are into professions like painting and construction may also fall prey to this condition, as they require repeated, overhead movements of the arms. This leads to instability of the shoulder. Some people are born with structural abnormalities of the shoulder, which make them susceptible to this condition.
- The main symptom is a constant shoulder pain. At the initial stage, the pain is experienced at the top edge of the front part of the shoulder. Later, the pain moves to the side of the shoulder. It intensifies due to movement of the muscles.
- Lifting the arms above your head or reaching up to your back gives a sharp pain. It worsens if you try to make some quick movements of the shoulder.
- The shoulder muscles are weakened due to the pain, and they stiffen up.
- Sometimes, the shoulder area becomes tender and sensitive to touch, and localized swelling can also occur.
- Nocturnal shoulder pain is a common characteristic which makes it difficult for the patient to sleep. It happens more if the patient sleeps, lying on the affected side of the shoulder.
- When shoulder impingement occurs along with rotator cuff tendonitis, one can get a painful, crackling or popping sensation in the shoulder.
If the pain is neglected and sustains for a long period of time, it can lead to muscle tear in the rotator cuff. If the impingement continues further, it can damage the bicep muscles as well. Such conditions make the pain unbearable.
- At the initial stage, the doctor determines the extent of damage in the shoulder with the help of x-rays and MRI scans.
- Then, they prescribe non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medicines to bring down the pain. Usually, medication is continued for about eight weeks.
- During this time, cold compression can be given to the affected part to get some relief from the pain.
- The activities that increase the pain should be stopped completely. If required, doctor may advise the use of slings for a few weeks, to keep the arms in an immobile condition.
- Another form of treatment is physical therapy, with the help of which, pain and inflammation can be controlled.
- If all these measures are not enough, then corticosteroid injections are recommended.
- When non-surgical methods of treatment are not effective, one has to undergo surgery.
Finally, in order to restore the normal movements of the shoulder, you have to do some shoulder-strengthening exercises as per the advise of your doctor. The recovery time may vary from a few months to a year, depending on the severity of the condition. Shoulder impingement being an extremely painful injury, you have to take some measures to prevent its further recurrence.
Make some changes to your regular routine to minimize the movements of the shoulder. If the sports you play or the job you do involves repeated overhead movement of the arms, rest your shoulder from time to time by taking short breaks.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is solely for informative purpose and not intended to replace the advice of medical experts.