Formerly known as Alaska Hand-Elbow-Shoulder & Rhyneer Caylor Clinic.

How to Tell if your Shoulder Pain is an Impingement

Shoulder Pain Specialist In Anchorage, AK

Many common Alaskan activities can lead to shoulder pain. Sometimes it’s just discomfort or mild pain that resolves within a few hours with anti-inflammatory meds, while other times it may never fully resolve. If you experience ongoing shoulder pain, especially with overhead activities like lifting, you may need to call an orthopedic specialist. That pain can actually be an impingement, which is more complicated than simple shoulder pain. This blog post will help you identify the symptoms, causes, and treatment of shoulder impingement.

What Is Shoulder Impingement?

Also known as a swimmer’s shoulder, impingement is one of the common causes of shoulder pain that develops from  overhead activities that require a lot of rotational motion,like climbing, swimming, lifting, painting, etc. An impingement occurs  when the top outer edge of the shoulder blade pinches the rotator cuff in the shoulder.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that helps lift and rotate the arm overhead . These muscles attach the upper arm bone (the humerus) to the shoulder bone (the acromion). Impingement creates a narrowed bursa. The bursa is a small sac filled with fluid that protects the rotator cuff and allows the shoulder socket to move freely. A patient will suffer severe pain when the acromion rubs or “pinches” against the rotator cuff as the patient raises that arm.

Symptoms Of Shoulder Pain Resulting From An Impingement

If you feel sudden pain when lifting your hand backward or above your head and notice swelling, aching, and stiffness radiating from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm, you may be suffering shoulder impingement. Symptoms will likely worsen after overhead activity, but may still be noticeable at rest too. Shoulder Impingement may also cause weakness, limited range of motion, and difficulty reaching overhead, shoulder pain at night, and tingling pain extending from the forearm to the shoulder.

Causes, Risk Factors, And Treatment | Orthopedic Surgeon in Anchorage, AK

Athletes, contractors,  and construction workers are at risk of developing a shoulder impingement. Virtually any activity that causes repeated use of the shoulder, especially overhead use, can lead to impingement. Past shoulder injuries can also trigger impingement if overuse sets in. Taking time to rest and recover is a good way to reduce symptoms when they are still minimal. Physical therapy and medications are also recommended for patients with mild shoulder pain.. In addition to rest, PT, and taking NSAIDS, daily stretching in a warm shower canhelp as well as avoiding repetitive overhead movements.

Other causes of shoulder pain may include; rotator cuff tear, bursitis, and tendinitis. Our team of specialists at Alaska Orthopedic Specialists are always ready to help you with  shoulder pain relief.

Reduce or Eliminate  Your Pain | Shoulder Pain Specialist in Anchorage, AK

If shoulder pain from impingement persists after being treated conservatively, surgery may be recommended. At AOS, our experienced surgeons are ready to diagnose and treat your shoulder impingement conservatively or surgically.  Don’t allow shoulder pain to keep you from your work or activities you enjoy. Make an appointment here or call us today at (907) 771-3500.