If you’re experiencing shoulder pain and suspect it could be caused by shoulder impingement, the good news is chiropractic for shoulder impingement can be an effective treatment. Shoulder impingement, known by other names such as impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tendonitis can be a painful condition that may also significantly limit your function. If it persists for longer periods of time, it may even evolve into a partial rotator cuff tear. Answering some of these common questions on shoulder pain will help you learn more about the condition and what you can do to address it:

  • What is shoulder impingement?
  • What causes shoulder impingement?
  • Can chiropractic relieve shoulder impingement?

What is shoulder impingement?

Simply put, shoulder impingement syndrome is a shoulder condition that affects the upper shoulder and can cause a great deal of pain. It’s especially painful when lifting your arm above your head to the side and above your head to the front. These are the most common range of motion limitations, but there can certainly be others.

Involved bony structures in shoulder impingement include the scapula, clavicle, and the humerus. In the most common type of shoulder impingement, the supraspinatus tendon gets inflamed and irritated by surrounding structures. This irritation leads to a sharp discomfort on the top and outside of your shoulder. Your supraspinatus tendon is essentially pinched between the acromion process (part of your scapula) and the head of the humerus (your upper arm.)  In this area, there is a very narrow space for the tendon to pass through. This irritation leads to progressing inflammation which further complicates the problem and may decrease the space even further.

Since the supraspinatus is a rotator cuff muscle, the condition makes it difficult and painful to move the shoulder. Once these events occur, you’re likely dealing with some level of shoulder impingement.

What causes shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement is usually caused by small tears or damaged cells in the supraspinatus tendon from the mechanical irritation. Overuse, poor shoulder mechanics, and chronic stress on the tendon build up over time causing microscopic trauma. Sometimes shoulder impingement can be caused by acute injuries but this is less frequent.

Sometimes shoulder impingement may resolve on its own with rest and home care. If it does, you may be able to go on living your life and forget about it. Unfortunately, a lot of times it doesn’t and can worsen without treatment. If your shoulder pain has been bothering you for a long time, now is the time to get it evaluated by a chiropractor, physical therapist, or medical doctor.

Can chiropractic relieve shoulder impingement?

Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts, we know bones, muscles, and joints. With this being said, chiropractors have effective treatment strategies to treat shoulder impingement and get you some pain relief as fast as possible. Our chiropractic physicians treat this condition frequently and have had great treatment outcomes. Chiropractic care for shoulder impingement relief typically includes the following treatment strategies:

  • Chiropractic joint mobilizations and manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) to relieve pain and improve joint motion.
  • Soft tissue treatment such as Graston Technique to address scar tissue, adhesions, and trigger points that contribute to the condition.
  • Therapeutic ultrasound to relieve pain and reduce acute inflammation.
  • Dry needling or acupuncture to address myofascial trigger points that cause muscle imbalance, tightness, and pain.
  • Strategic rehab exercises to stretch tissues, strengthen tissues, restore proper movement patterns, and keep impingement from returning.

Your other treatment options include OTC medication or RX medication for relief, steroid shots for relief, shoulder surgery, and physical therapy. In comparison, our chiropractic physicians provide a conservative and effective approach that’s less invasive and typically less costly.

Dr. Jason Williams DC is a chiropractic physician practicing at AccessHealth Chiropractic in Cary, NC. He treats neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries using chiropractic manipulation, dry needling, acupuncture, rehab exercise strategies, and other supportive therapies. Primary areas of focus include back pain, neck pain, muscular pain, extremity pain, and orthopedic injuries. Dr. Williams is experienced in treating athletes, especially those in the CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA community.

If you’re interested in whether he or another AccessHealth provider can help you, navigate to our contact page or follow this link to request an appointment.