A shoulder impingement will cause pain in movements around shoulder height and overhead. This can impact our day to day living, like not being able to reach to high shelves at home, or stop us from sports and exercise we love like swimming or tennis. There may also be shoulder pain at night when sleeping on the affected side, along with weakness of the arm. Left unchecked, shoulder impingement can increase the risks of long term shoulder degeneration and supraspinatus tendon tears.
Often the cause of shoulder impingement involves in imbalance in the rotator cuff muscles and their ability to keep the head of the humerus in an ideal position within the shoulder joint. A shoulder impingement occurs when the tissues between the humerus and acromiom become pinched and compressed in certain ranges of motion. The affected tissue is typically the supraspinatus tendon, sub-acromial bursa and/or the bicep tendon. The irritation on this tissue, along with improper movement and positioning of the shoulder joint, can then lead to these tissues becoming inflamed and swollen, causing further narrowing of the joint space.
It is important that treatment address the bio-mechanics of the shoulder and not just the inflammation for a full recovery. Rest along is often not enough for this.
At Village Remedies clinics in Balmain and Sydney City CBD, when we work with people who have shoulder impingement, we take a structured approach involving not only the physical assessment and treatment of the injury, but also a holistic approach to supporting overall health and recovery. We use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine differently according to what phase of recovery you're at.