Shoulder Pain and Impingement Syndrome

Impingement syndrome refers to a group of shoulder disorders that impair abduction of the shoulder (e.g. overhead activities or when the arm is away from the body). In a person with impingement syndrome they may have shoulder pain, restricted movement or feel a “catching” sensation inside the shoulder.



What causes Impingement Syndrome?

In the shoulder blade (scapula) there is a space which can become impinged on certain movements. Several structures in the shoulder can contribute to this impingement syndrome. Some examples include an inflamed tendon (commonly the supraspinatus tendon), a partial tear of a tendon, calcific tendonitis or bursitis, just to name a few.

How is Impingement Syndrome evaluated?

Different physical examination tests can be used to evaluate the shoulder. The shoulder may be tender at the site of impingement and the range of motion can be assessed.

What is the treatment for Impingement Syndrome?

The treatment and management is based on how severe the symptoms are and the structure/s causing the impingement. A chiropractor, physiotherapy or osteopath can assess your shoulder and advice if conservative care is right for you. If your condition is non responsive, imaging such as ultrasound or MRI may be used to give more information as to the extent of the impingement and/or possible need for specialist advice.