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44-65% of all shoulder complaints reported to health professionals are subacromial impingement. If you are struggling with shoulder pain and think it’s time for someone to have a look at it, call the office.
Most commonly, people report shoulder pain at the tip of the shoulder. Pain can also be noted down the arm and towards the neck. Pain is often exacerbated by movements where the arm is raised above 90 degrees, lifting objects that are away from the centre mass of the body, or sleeping on the involved shoulder.
There are a number of potential causes of subacromial impingement, and all involve the structures surrounding the shoulder. Tendonopathy of the supraspinatus (part of the rotator cuff), inflammation of the subacromial bursa, and bony abnormalities of the acromio-clavicular joint are all common causes of impingement. These can also be exacerbated by poor scapular (shoulder blade) movements, increased thoracic (mid back) curvature, poor posture, repetitive work tasks, and cervical (neck) postural changes.
What can we do about it?
The research suggests that most people will respond well to manual treatment and exercises, especially those who haven’t had the pain for an extended period. The chiropractor will perform a number of different treatments, using different techniques to address the underlying problems that are either causing of exacerbating your condition. These may include mobilisations, gentle manipulations or adjustments, massage/muscle/soft tissue work, and rehabilitative exercises. The shoulder, shoulder blade, mid back and neck are all often treated as these areas are often exacerbating your condition, or preventing it front healing fully. If manual therapy fails, then surgical intervention may be an option.
You should discuss your situation, and options with the chiropractor and your GP in order to come up with a collaborative approach that will achieve the best results for you. As each individual is different, a slightly altered treatment and rehab program will be implemented for each person, and your prognosis and recovery will depend on that.