Shoulder dysfunction is a condition we treat very often in the clinic. From the mountain biker that has a history of going of the handlebars to a rancher that uses a post hole digger on a regular basis. Our region has a large range of activities that challenge our joints and tissue. At the same time, folks that spend a majority of their time in a poor postural position in front of a computer or at a desk are predisposed to experience the onset of shoulder pain.
Among the most common non-traumatic problems we see is shoulder impingement. This is a scenario where the tip (acromion) of the shoulder blade (scapula) makes irritating contact with part of the rotator cuff. This often starts as a non painful catch or pop in the shoulder. This pop is a sign of microtrauma that when repeated over time leads to rotator cuff tears. As we age, the likelihood of us experiencing this scenario increases. The main symptom of shoulder impingement is pain with lifting your arm overhead.
Contributors to Shoulder Impingement:
The good news is that this problem is best addressed with conservative treatment. Occasionally, a physician will give a patient experiencing similar symptoms a steroid injection to decrease pain in order for the person to perform physical therapy. During this window of opportunity, a patient develops improved shoulder mechanics, postural control, and stability to reduce future shoulder impingement and subsequent rotator cuff damage. This scenario allows for a return to sports and activities and best prevents the need for a rotator cuff surgery down the road. Don't let a painful shoulder keep you from enjoying life. If you have any questions about this particular condition, feel free to give us a call.
Have a great week!
Michael D. Grajeda, PT, DPT