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Shoulder impingement and pain

Posted Jun 30 2009 5:54pm

Patient: I have occasional bilateral shoulder pain which occurs when lifting the arms half way up.

Health practitioner: With the type of pain in your shoulder, tendinitis is certainly a consideration.  Another possible diagnosis is impingement syndrome where the rotator cuff tendon pinches under the acromion.  Impingement can occur as as the arms are lifted away from the body to the overhead position (lifting outward to the side – not in front of the body).

The bursa may also become inflamed in this area too.

The causes of shoulderimpingement include:

  • bony spurs on the acromion
  • muscle weakness in the shoulder
  • repetitive overhead work (like painting).

Treatment consists of:

  • exercise program per physical therapist
  • NSAIDs
  • ice
  • heat
  • surgery (if conservative treatment fails)

Since shoulder  impingement can lead to rotator cuff tears and/ or frozen shoulder, it is important to treat this correctly.

Consult an orthodist or physical therapist for exact diagnosis.

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