Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

As of April 2020, 4.5 million visits made to physicians included the chief complaint as being shoulder pain. It is the third leading musculoskeletal complaint behind spine and knee injuries. Physicians are aware that shoulder pain can be life-altering and at times stop any activity. Because of the nature of shoulder impingement syndrome, it is our mission to help you get back to doing what you love.

In this post, we will take the curtain off of shoulder impingement syndrome and reveal what it is, how it is diagnosed, and what your treatment options are.

What is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

A diagnosis of shoulder impingement syndrome can be somewhat confusing. First off, some physicians refer to this as shoulder tendonitis or rotator cuff tendonitis. The reason for this is that tendonitis of the shoulder is inflammation of the rotator cuff or bicep tendon.

The rotator cuff tendon is what connects the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade. When the tendon becomes inflamed it can cause a thickening which could lead to further problems if not treated.

Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

It is not enough to know what shoulder impingement syndrome is. We need to know what the symptoms are. Shoulder impingement or tendonitis comes with two main symptoms. They are tenderness or pain in your shoulder and inability to hold your arm in certain positions.

For some patients, they may experience more acute symptoms. Those symptoms include the following.

  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Loss of mobility
  • Pain when reaching behind your back
  • Pain and/or swelling in the affected arm
  • Pain when raising your arm
  • A clicking sound in the shoulder when you raise your arm
  • Shoulder pain that wakes you during the night

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek a physician’s treatment.

How Is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome Diagnosed?

We have advised you to consider a consultation with one of the doctors at OrthoUnited. So, let us talk about how your physician will come about this diagnosis.

Your physician will start by collecting a complete medical history and physical exam. They will inspect your shoulder and may ask you to move your arm in certain ways. For example, they may ask you to raise your arm above your head or place your arm behind your back.

Once the physical exam is complete, your physician will order one or more diagnostic tests. These tests include an X-Ray or MRI. Depending on the physician, you may need more than one test.

What Are My Treatment Options?

There are various treatments for shoulder impingement that do not include surgery. The first option is pain management. Resting your shoulder and using a combination of cold packs and anti-inflammatory drugs can be quite helpful.

Sometimes pain management needs a little help. In this case, you could speak to your physician about a corticosteroid injection or physical therapy. This could boost your body’s healing qualities and get your pain under control.

The last treatment option is shoulder surgery. A decision to have surgery should come only after you have exhausted all other treatment options. Surgery is usually done arthroscopically and is usually an outpatient procedure.

Stop Suffering with Shoulder Pain

No one should have to suffer with shoulder pain. The pain you experience can alter your activities and lessen your sleep quality. Contact OrthoUnited today if you are having any of the above symptoms and take back the joy in your life.