Impingement is when the tendons or bursa are pinched between the humerus (arm bone) and the acromion (top bone of the shoulder).
When the arm is used above shoulder height everyone will get a bit of impingement, but this normally doesn’t cause any trouble. However, with prolonged or repeated movements, the structures can get worn, inflamed and painful. This can also cause swelling and pain in the bursa.
With wear and tear bony outgrowths called spurs can occur which further irritate the area. In the early stages you will find the shoulder just aches, particularly when moving your arm outwards or reaching for your back pocket. Later you may notice that lying on the affected side wakes you up. You may also notice that your arm becomes stiffer and more painful as it gets worse.
Sometimes the supraspinatus tendon can become so worn that it snaps leading to weakness in the arm. We will take a careful case history and then examine you in great detail, noting your ranges and quality of movement. We will do minor tests for trapped nerves, ranges of movement and power. When a diagnosis has been reached, we will discuss the treatment options with you.
Although shoulder pain can be serious, the vast majority of injuries are not and can easily be helped by osteopathic treatment. We normally would be able to reduce your symptoms to a pain-free level and give you advice and exercise to help prevent future problems. Shoulder problems can take a very long time to settle down, 3-6 months would not be unusual. The sooner you seek treatment the quicker you will be better.
This is one of the most common conditions that we treat and often a patient can be helped by carefully prescribed Osteopathic treatment and advice!