Shoulder Impingement Pain Treatment in Chillicothe, OH
What is Shoulder Impingement?
A common cause of shoulder pain is shoulder impingement syndrome. It occurs when the bony acromion on the top edge of your shoulder blade pinches or rubs against (“impinges on”) the rotator cuff tendon that slides beneath it when you raise your arm.
The muscles of the rotator cuff and their tendons connect your shoulder blade to the bone of your upper arm (“humerus”). The rotator cuff makes it possible for you to rotate your arm and to raise your arm over your head.
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Shoulder Impingement Causes
Anything that takes away part of the small space the rotator cuff tendons slide through can cause the bony acromion to rub or pinch the tender tissues. Shoulder impingement syndrome begins when the irritated or damaged rotator cuff swells as it tries to protect itself. This reduces the space even more and can start a cycle of swelling-pain-inflammation-pain as the shoulder tries to get you to hold still.
Common causes include:
- Tears of the tendon from sports with overhead motion such tennis, baseball, and swimming.
- Overhead work such as painting or construction.
- Injuries such as falling onto the shoulder or onto an outstretched arm.
- Wear-and-tear associated with aging.
- Bone spurs on the acromion, also associated with injury and/or aging.
- Repetitive overuse of the shoulder leading to damage of the bursa (“bursitis”)
- Being born with an acromion that is more curved than normal and more likely to cause impingement.
- Asymmetric weaknesses in the rotator cuff muscles that allows for an imbalance of the shoulder joint.
- Asymmetric tightness of the shoulder capsule that allows for an imbalance of the shoulder joint.
However, in many cases there is no clear cause.
Shoulder Impingement Symptoms
Pain is the main symptom of shoulder impingement. This may include:
- Pain both when you are active and when your shoulder is still.
- Pain that moves from the front of your shoulder to the side of your arm
- Sudden pain when you lift your arm, reach, or lower your arm from overhead
- Pain when your arms are lifted above your head
- Pain in the front of your shoulder
- Pain at night, especially when lying on the affected side.
Stiffness and weakness of the shoulder or arm are also common. This may cause problems with any activity that requires putting your arm behind your back, such as getting dressed, or use of your arm above your head.
Shoulder Pain Treatment Options
The goal in treating shoulder impingement syndrome is to reduce pain and restore function. Initial treatment typically combines rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections. Physical therapy is usually recommended. This is to stretch the shoulder, improve the range of motion, and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.
Minimally Invasive Shoulder Surgery
If nonsurgical treatments do not relieve the pain and return the shoulder to normal mobility, several types of surgery are possible.
Dr. Cohen is a specialist in “minimally invasive” surgery. That means surgery that causes as little stress to the body as possible.
The key to minimally invasive surgery is the use of tiny surgical tools inserted through several small incisions around the shoulder area. Dr. Cohen looks into the area with an arthroscope, a device about the size of a pencil that carries a tiny video camera. This “inside view” makes it possible for him to use the special instruments to remove small bits of bone and soft tissue, make more space for the rotator cuff, and relieve the impingement.
Minimally invasive surgery usually means faster recovery for the patient. Typically, after shoulder impingement surgery you will wear a sling for a couple of days, then begin an exercise rehabilitation program to restore strength and range of motion to your shoulder and arm.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you are experiencing chronic shoulder pain and restricted ability to move your arm, you might have shoulder impingement syndrome. To find out more, you can schedule a personal consultation with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Cohen by calling or emailing his office today.