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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Shoulder Impingement: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Also known as swimmer’s shoulder or shoulder impingement syndrome, shoulder impingement is a common condition that affects athletes and those engaged in activities like lifting, painting, and swimming. One of its most common symptoms is a constant pain in the affected shoulder of the person. The problem becomes so nagging that people often wonder how to get rid of shoulder impingement as early as possible.

The condition makes you experience a painful sensation in your shoulders even at rest. This condition makes about half of all shoulder injuries that people who are active commonly get. Till now, there is no best way to get rid of shoulder impingement pain. Plenty of rest and not engaging in physically demanding activities for a few weeks or months is what will help your shoulder to heal properly.

What Is Shoulder Impingement?

Your shoulder enables you to perform many movements. Hence, it is one of the most vulnerable joints in your body. They help in many flexing, extending, and rotating movements. But certain overhead motions can irritate the rotator cuff tendons sometimes. When this area becomes irritated and inflamed, you experience sharp pain. This is essentially what is called shoulder impingement syndrome.

What causes shoulder impingement?

shoulder impingement

Diagram showing shoulder blade, Credit: Pixabay

Shoulder impingement occurs as a result of all the physical activities where your rotator cuff area is overused. These activities can include doing overhead presses with weights, swimming, and other sports like tennis and baseball.

Repeatedly using your shoulder for the movements swells the tendons in your shoulder. Alternatively, if you have weak shoulder muscles or other shoulder imbalances, you can also develop shoulder impingement problems.

Before you self diagnose yourself as having shoulder impingement syndrome and seek an answer to how do you get rid of shoulder impingement pain, first look at the symptoms mentioned below to see how many of them do you have

What Are the Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement?

best way to get rid of shoulder impingement

Woman experiencing shoulder pain, Credit: Pixabay

Symptoms of this condition may include:

  1. Pain while lifting your arm in the shoulder.

  2. And, Pain that moves from front to the side of your shoulder.

  3. Pain that aggravates during night time.

  4. Weakness in the shoulder area.

How to Get Rid of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

how to get rid of shoulder impingement

Person moving shoulder under doctor supervision, Credit: Pixabay

It may take you about 6-8 weeks to completely recover from shoulder impingement pain. Rest and avoiding all the repetitive movements are crucial to its recovery. But that does not mean that your shoulder should always remain in a static position. It will lead to another complication known as the ‘frozen shoulders’. So, light movements should not be completely foregone by you.

There are other ways by which you can get relief at home. These include:

  1. Applying ice-pack to the affected area frequently throughout the day. Make sure to put a wet towel between your skin and the ice pack to reduce skin damage.

  2. Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. The medicine is available at most medical stores.

  3. Doing a certain range of motion, strengthening, and isometric exercises at home under the supervision of your physical therapist.

  4. Avoid engaging in strenuous activities.

Exercises You Can Do to Alleviate Shoulder Impingement Pain

treatment by exercise

Person exercising under doctor’s supervision, Credit: Pixabay

There are certain exercises that you can try out by yourself at home if you want to know how to get rid of shoulder impingement pain.

  1. Stand straight with your palms by your side. The palms of your hands should be facing forward. Now squeeze your shoulder blades and be in that position for around 5-10 seconds. Do this for at least 5-10 times.

  2. Stretch your arm and move it forward using just your shoulder. Now move the shoulder backward without moving your back or neck. Do not bend your arm.

  3. Lie on the side which is not affected. Now bend your top arm in an angle of 90 degrees. Your elbow should be on your hip. Now rotate your lower arm up. Repeat this exercise for 10-20 times.

  4. Stand in a doorway. Hold the sides of the doors. Your arms should be a bit below your shoulder height. Now turn your upper body away from that arm. Hold in this position for around 5-10 seconds.

If during any of these exercises, you experience pain in any part of your shoulder, stop doing them immediately. Alternatively, you can reduce the duration of the exercise if its causing you discomfort.

Shoulder impingement syndrome is treatable. However, it may take you a considerable amount of time to heal. Don’t rush through the process. Take it slow.

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