Do you have pain when you reach into the cabinet for your favorite coffee cup?
Do you struggle to lift your arm to put on deodorant or wash your hair?
Are you limited with your arm motions due to pain?
You may be struggling with “shoulder impingement”. What does that mean?
Well, the shoulder is a complex structure made up of bones, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
The bones involved are the humerus (even though shoulder impingement isn’t funny!), the collar bone (AKA – clavicle), and the shoulder blade. Yes, the shoulder blade (or scapula) must be included when you are discussing the bones of the shoulder. See, the shoulder blade has to move or else the rest of the bones and muscles can’t move correctly.
Also, there is a bony part of the shoulder blade called the acromion. This part of the shoulder blade makes up the top part of your shoulder.
Put you hand right on the top of your shoulder. Do you feel that bony part right at the edge of your shoulder? Just before your hand falls of the shoulder. That is called the “acromion process”.
The acromion process is super important because it creates the “top” of the shoulder. The humerus makes up the “bottom” of the shoulder.
In between the acromion process and the humerus is an open space. What is in this space? Several things!
- Tendons – these attach muscle to bone. The muscles are on the shoulder blade and attach into the humerus.
- Ligaments – these attach bones to each other. There are tons of ligaments in this area attaching all those bones together. They can get tight and hold the bones too close together.
- Bursa – these are sacks filled with fluid. They are found in between muscles and bones. Bursa help keep the muscles from scraping on the bone. But, when they get inflamed they can get too big. This is called bursitis.
The tendons, ligaments, and bursa are all together in the very small space between the shoulder blade and the humerus. Normally, this is fine and we can do everything we want. However, when one of them starts misbehaving or gets swollen, trouble ensues.
You start to have pain when you are trying to lift your arm up. Initially it may just be a little bit of pain and you can move through it. Over time the pain increases as you try to continue reaching for your coffee cup, put on deodorant, wash your hair, or grab the cookie jar you put up high to keep the kids out of it.
Then you have a full blown shoulder impingment. It gets to the point that any time you reach your arm up it becomes painful. This is very limiting to all of your activities and frustrating to many people.
The great news is that there is an easy solution that doesn’t involve pain killers, expensive procedures, or even surgery. It’s called Physical Therapy.
We look at your shoulder and figure out what started the problem in the first place. We then develop a plan to eliminate the shoulder pain and restore normal motion in your shoulder. The final step is giving you some exercises that you can do to help your shoulder move better.
Don’t worry, the exercises are never painful and we make sure you can do them at home! Unless you don’t want to. If you want to come into our clinic and do your exercises then we can do that too!
If you are suffering from shoulder impingement please know that there is help. You can access Physical Therapy without having to see a doctor. We can tell you if what you have is shoulder impingement and develop a plan to get you back to a pain-free life.
What’s the first step? Simply click here and fill out a short contact form. We will be in touch to get you on your way back to your favorite coffee cup in no time.