Avoiding Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder Impingement is a painful condition that occurs when the structures passing through the small arch formed by bones surrounding the shoulder become inflamed.   Overhead movements of the arm cause this space to narrow and further squeeze, or impinge these structures.  This inflammation results in pain with shoulder movements, especially overhead movements.  Shoulder impingement is relatively common across the population and can occur as a result of a variety of activities.  Individuals who perform repetitive movements as part of their work duties as well as overhead athletes such as baseball pitchers, swimmers and volleyball players are at an increased risk of developing impingement syndrome.  Luckily, there are a number of things that can be done to decrease the risk of developing this condition.

As a general trend, many people tend to slouch during the day and develop a rounded shoulder position.  This posture further encourages the narrowing of the space affected by shoulder impingement.  Sitting up tall, pushing out the chest and keeping the shoulders back promote a better position to decrease stresses on the structures of the shoulder.
People often take for granted how their work space is setup.  A poorly thought out work space not only can make a person less productive, but can place unnecessary stress on the body.  A work space should be set up to avoid overhead reaching whenever possible.
Whether a baseball player or an office worker, impingement risk can be reduced with appropriate strengthening of the shoulder complex.  Often times people focus on developing strength in the front of the shoulder/chest  and neglect the back of the shoulder.  This plays a role in the rounded shoulder positioning mentioned above.

If shoulder pain develops, don’t ignore it.  The earlier shoulder pain is treated, the more likely a person is to get better faster and the risk of further injury is decreased.  Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers can identify the cause of shoulder pain and develop a plan to eliminate it.

October 21st, 2015

Posted In: General

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