Nagging Shoulder Pain? It Might Be Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Nagging Shoulder Pain? It Might Be Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

You have a nagging pain in your shoulder, and the discomfort worsens with certain movements. Considering that up to 65% of the causes of shoulder pain are shoulder impingement syndrome, it’s worth taking a closer look.

You may not give your shoulders much thought, but when they’re in pain, you realize just how much you rely on them. While various problems can lead to shoulder pain, 44% and 65% of them are due to shoulder impingement syndrome.

To help you narrow down the possibilities behind your shoulder pain, Dr. Rajiv Sood and the team here at Spine & Orthopedic Center take a closer look at shoulder impingement syndrome. In the following, we review the mechanics behind shoulder impingement syndrome, some telltale signs, and how we can help you wave goodbye to shoulder pain.

Behind the shoulder impingement

To help you better understand shoulder impingement syndrome, we should first quickly review the anatomy in question. Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that joins your:

  • Humerus (upper arm bone)
  • Scapula (shoulder blade)
  • Clavicle (collar bone)

The tissues responsible for keeping the top of your arm bone firmly in the socket located in your shoulder blade is your rotator cuff.

Your rotator cuff joins four muscles together into a tendon that covers the head of your humerus. If this tissue becomes inflamed, it can push against your acromion, which is the piece of your shoulder blade that juts out over your shoulder joint. This increased pressure inside these bones can lead to pain and limited movement in your arm.

Making matters worse, much like when you bite the inside of your mouth and it swells up, you keep irritating that area when you use your arm, prolonging the problem.

While inflammation in your rotator cuff can lead to shoulder impingement syndrome, the problem also occurs if the bursa sac between your tendon and acromion is inflamed or your acromion has bone spurs.

Signs of shoulder impingement syndrome

Some telltale signs of shoulder impingement syndrome include:

  • Pain lifting your arm overhead or reaching behind you
  • Pain in the front of your shoulder
  • Tenderness in the front of your shoulder
  • Pain while you sleep 
  • Stiffness in your shoulder
  • Loss of strength in your arm
  • Arm pain

These symptoms may also stem from other problems, such as a rotator cuff tear or tendonitis. You must note when the discomfort flares, as that will guide us when we investigate your shoulder pain.

Finding relief from shoulder impingement syndrome

If your shoulder pain is due to shoulder impingement syndrome, we typically start conservatively with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.

If these methods fail to bring you relief, we can use interventional therapies, like corticosteroid injections, to help relieve the pain and inflammation.

If you’re still struggling with shoulder pain after these approaches, we may recommend arthroscopic surgery to create more room inside your shoulder joint.

Before getting ahead of ourselves on treatment options, it’s important to have the right diagnosis. The first step toward that goal is to contact our Jonesboro, Georgia, office to schedule a consultation.