shoulder impingement exercises

What to know about shoulder impingement

Shoulder impingement, or what people often refer to as swimmer’s shoulder is an injury that can cause discomfort in the shoulder because of a tendon or bursa that rubs against shoulder blade.

The pain associated with shoulder impingement is persistent and tends to get more severe when one is able to reach up.

The risk of developing this injury is high. in activities that require moving arm above their head like tennis, swimming, and many other sports.

The shoulder can be described as a complex joint with a variety of connecting joints, tendons, as well as muscles, which means it could be especially susceptible to injury. The following article will find out the basics about shoulder impingement as well as the treatment options for it.

What is shoulder impingement?

If you suffer from shoulder impingement, you may have difficulty to lift their arm over the shoulder.

Different terms can be used for shoulder impingement. These include:

  • shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Tendinitis of the rotator cuff
  • The shoulder of the swimmer

Shoulder impingement is a cause of pain because of an inflammation of the shoulder. This is due to frequent using the shoulder. Ageing and injuries may cause the problem to get worse.

The shoulders are a difficult region that is the junction point for shoulders blade, upper arms and collarbone.

To guard these bones a collection of tendons and muscles known as the rotator cuff protects the joint of your shoulder. The rotator tendon also holds the the arm up within the socket of the shoulder.

A fluid-filled sac, known as a bursa, cushion shoulders, which prevents friction within the socket. The bursa lets free motion of the tendons whenever one moves their shoulder to avoid friction and sticking.

Impingement is when inflammation results in the muscles, tendons or bones to press into the bursa, or press against one the other.


The most common symptom of shoulder impingement can be difficulty lifting the arm beyond the shoulder height. It can also be painful when you reach for to the side behind your back.

People suffering from shoulder impingement generally feel stiffness, throbbing and general discomfort throughout the shoulder. The pain could be similar to toothache, but not the tearing pain that comes from the muscle that has been injured. It is possible to see and feel puffy or swollen in the shoulder.

The shoulder can feel stiff and aching when at rest. It will get more painful when someone is using it.

The symptoms could be worsened over time the pain will increase and strength diminishing. The pain can become more intense when a person sleeps on the side affected by their body. Placing the arm on either the front or back can be more difficult.

If not treated The tendons in the rotator-cuff can tear or wear out which could cause greater pain, shoulder weakness and difficulty lifting or using the shoulder in any way.


The most common cause is overuse. for shoulder impingement.

In the course of time, any task that continuously requires someone to raise their arm over the shoulder and then towards the back could be at risk of impingement.

Examples of these include:

  • swimming
  • tennis
  • softball
  • baseball
  • painting
  • packing
  • Lifting
  • construction

Impingement of the shoulder is caused by excessive use, however age can also play a role. The longer a person has used the shoulder or performing these kinds of exercises the more likely the symptoms will develop.

Acute injuries, such as shoulder dislocations, are also a major cause of shoulder issues, such as impingement and tears to the rotator-cuff.


Finding out the cause of shoulder impingement early is vital, as treating it can stop signs from getting worse.

Doctors will perform an examination of the shoulder to look for indications of injury, bruising or swelling. They’ll also ask patients to provide information on when the symptoms began.

They could move the arm into the socket, as well as ask them make several arm movements in order to identify any anomalies.

Learn more about the health issues you are concerned about the most. Sign up to our first-of-the-facts newsletter today.


The use of conservative treatments is beneficial for many patients. The authors of an 2017 study conducted by Trusted Source report about 60% patients respond to treatment within two years. Minor cases may resolve more quickly.

The treatment options for shoulder impingement may include Trusted Source:

  • Rest
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications ( NSAIDs)
  • Heat
  • ” >physical therapy
  • elastic therapeutic tape

Physical therapy employs safe, gentle exercises to build the shoulder muscles and improve the motion range in this part of the body.

A study of a small size in 2013 conducted by Trusted Source showed the fact that physical therapy for 10 weeks improved function and eased the pain of people suffering from shoulder impingement. The time required to heal is dependent, however, dependent on the particular situation.

In the event that the body doesn’t respond to these treatment options the doctor may recommend surgery.

The procedure of surgery for shoulder impingement expands the area around the rotator-cuff area to reduce friction. If someone suffers from an injury to the rotator cuff and needs to repair it, surgery could be required.

One of the treatments of shoulder impingement includes to keep from sustaining further injuries. Physical therapists can show the patient how to utilize the shoulder correctly , and also train the person on specific movements that are relevant to their profession or sport in order to prevent injuries in the future.

Exercises and stretching

It is essential to adhere to any exercise regimen the physical therapist put together. If you haven’t made appointments with a physician to discuss treatment options should take the initiative to do so.

Below are a few exercise routines that physical therapy may suggest to ease shoulder pain.

It is essential to remember that rest is crucial for the body to recover and to stay clear of over-working or performing excessive amounts of these exercises. If symptoms start to appear or if existing symptoms worsen one should stop exercising immediately.

The shoulder stretch of the doorway

For a doorway shoulder stretch, someone could:

  • Place yourself in the doorway.
  • Place your hands on the doorframe’s side by extending the arm affected at a height that is slightly lower than the shoulder height.
  • Move your upper body toward the side, allowing an easing of the shoulder.
  • Keep it for 20 seconds.

Shoulder blade bends

To bend your shoulder blades

  • Make sure your back is straight, and your arms to the sides, with your palms in front.
  • The shoulder blades should be squeezed to the back. Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Relax and release.
  • Repetition 5 times.

Crossover arm stretch

For this easy stretch:

  • Straighten your body and raise the affected arm straight towards the front of your body. Keep it below shoulder height.
  • With the other arm to move the arm affected across your body.
  • Keep the arm in this position for 5-10 seconds and then return to the original position.
  • Five times repeat.

Leave a Reply