Shoulder Impingement and Chiropractic

Chiropractic care is a very effective treatment for shoulder impingement, also know by other names such as impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tendonitis.  In today’s post we’ll answer the questions: What is shoulder impingement? What causes shoulder impingement? We’ll also cover how chiropractic can help relieve shoulder impingement.

What is shoulder impingement AKA impingement syndrome AKA rotator cuff tendonitis?

Impingement syndrome is a shoulder condition that affects the the upper shoulder and can cause a great deal of pain, especially when moving the shoulder.  Involved bony structures include the scapula, clavicle, and the humerus.  Most commonly the supraspinatus tendon gets inflamed and swells – leading to a sharp discomfort on the top and side of the shoulder.  The supraspinatus tendon is pinched between the acromion process and the head of the humerus, where there is a very narrow space for it to pass through.  Inflammation then further complicates the problem by decreasing the passage even more.  Since the supraspinatus is a rotator cuff muscle, the condition makes it difficult and painful to move the shoulder, specifically when raising the arm laterally.

What causes shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement is usually caused by small tears or damaged cells in the supraspinatus tendon, which leads to pain and inflammation.  The tears are often a result of overuse or chronic stress on the tissue.  Sometimes shoulder impingement can be caused by acute injuries but not as frequently.  Many times the humerus is also riding high in the shoulder joint, which leads to an impingement injury.

Chiropractic and shoulder impingement

Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts, we know bones, muscles, and joints.  With this being said, chiropractic is very effective in treating shoulder impingement.  At AccessHealth Chiropractic Center we treat this condition very frequently and have had great treatment outcomes with our patients.  Typically treatment includes:

  • Chiropractic joint mobilizations and adjustments.
  • Soft tissue work such as Graston Therapy and myofascial release.
  • Therapeutic ultrasound.
  • Rehabilitation that includes flexibility and strengthening exercises for the shoulder.

These chiropractic treatments work to decrease pain, decrease inflammation, correct abnormal joint alignment and movement, increase flexibility, and strengthen the muscles around the joint.  Chiropractic treatment is also great for preventing this injury from returning.


If you have questions about shoulder impingement or how chiropractic can help feel free to contact our chiropractic office in Cary, NC.  Shoulder impingement can be a painful and frustrating injury and the chiropractors at AccessHealth Chiropractic would love to help.