Shoulder impingement cause, symptoms, and treatment with 4 exercises

Shoulder impingement or shoulder impingement syndrome is the most common shoulder problem seen by doctors.

But with the right exercises, you can get pain relief fast.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to recover.

I will teach you the cause, symptoms, and treatment of shoulder impingement with 4 exercises.

It’s all about improving the strength and mobility of your neck and shoulder.

So keep reading:

  1. Shoulder impingement cause
  2. Shoulder impingement symptoms
  3. Shoulder impingement syndrome treatment with 4 exercises
Shoulder impingement cause, symptoms, and treatment with 4 exercises

Shoulder impingement cause

Your arm and shoulder blade together form your shoulder joint. Since your shoulder joint is so flexible, it needs muscles to maintain its stability. The rotator cuff muscles provide stability to your shoulder.

The rotator cuff muscles also provide the movements of your shoulder.

When you lift your arm, there is also movement in your neck to enable your shoulder blade to rotate upward to prevent the impingement of your rotator cuff muscles in your shoulder joint.

When there is not enough movement in your shoulder or neck, the space within your shoulder joint reduces, causing shoulder impingement. One of the rotator cuff muscles gets stuck between your arm and shoulder blade.

The two muscles that can get impingement are the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles.

It damages the tendon, which causes the tendon to thicken. That increases the impingement even further. It can ultimately lead to shoulder bursitis.

The reduction in mobility is often a result of overuse of the neck or shoulder.

Shoulder impingement cause, symptoms, and treatment with 4 exercises

Shoulder impingement symptoms

Shoulder impingement symptoms are very distinctive. So if this is the cause of your shoulder pain, you’ll know.

The most common symptom is pain when lifting your arm sideways. Your supraspinatus performs this movement. When your supraspinatus thickens because of overuse, it takes up more space in your shoulder joint. When you lift your arm sideways, the space in your shoulder joint reduces. Together with the thickened muscle, the muscles impinge and cause pain.

You can feel the pain in the front of your shoulder and radiating into your arm towards your elbow. Lifting your arm forward is also often painful.

The other muscle that can be involved is the infraspinatus muscle. When this is the case, you can feel pain in your shoulder radiating to your hand. You will also have trouble turning your arm behind your back.

Finally, lying down on your shoulder is painful. That is because the space in your shoulder joint reduces due to the pressure.

Shoulder impingement cause, symptoms, and treatment with 4 exercises

Shoulder impingement syndrome treatment with 4 exercises

To relieve your shoulder impingement pain effectively, you have to reduce the compression and overuse of the muscles.

The anti-inflammatory drugs reduce swelling of the muscles, which reduces the compression.

You’ll also have to improve your neck and shoulder mobility to reduce the impingement even further. Without optimal mobility, you can’t train your rotator cuff muscles and repair them completely.

That’s why these 4 exercises focus on improving your neck and shoulder mobility as well as training your rotator cuff muscles.

Shoulder impingement cause, symptoms, and treatment with 4 exercises

Shoulder impingement exercise 1: Increase the mobility of your neck

The first shoulder impingement exercise is designed to increase the movement of your neck. Earlier I explained why a healthy neck is so important in solving shoulder impingement syndrome. That’s why we start with this exercise.

Perform the exercise as follow:

  • Wrap a towel around your neck
  • Take with your left hand the right side of the towel and with your right hand the left side
  • Now lift the hand that is in front up until the towel is at the same height as your cheek
  • Now pull with your arm and the towel your head in the full rotation to the side
  • Repeat this ten times and then change to the opposite side by changing your hands
  • Finally, grasp the towel normal and lift your arms and look up at the same time

You can see how to perform the exercise in this video.

Perform this exercise twice a day, both in the morning and in the evening.

shoulder impingement exercise 1 increase the mobility of your neck

Shoulder impingement exercise 2: Improve the mobility of your shoulder

The second shoulder impingement exercise is designed to improve the mobility of your shoulder. When you’re suffering from shoulder pain for a more extended period, the capsule of your shoulder starts to get irritated as well. It causes the capsule to stiffen. That results in reduced mobility of your shoulder and less space inside your shoulder joint.

The mobility of your shoulder must be restored to increase the space inside your shoulder joint. You can do this by stretching the capsule with the following exercise.

Perform the exercise like this:

  • lay down on your painful shoulder
  • Lift your arm into a 90 degrees angle with your body
  • Grasp with your other hand the hand of your painful shoulder
  • Now push the painful side down towards the ground
  • Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat it several times

You can see how to perform the exercise in this video.

Perform this exercise twice a day, both in the morning and in the evening.

shoulder impingement exercise 2 improve the mobility of your shoulder

Shoulder impingement exercise 3: Increase the strength of your infraspinatus muscle

The third shoulder impingement exercise is to restore the power and function of the affected tendon and muscle. When you train the muscle, it will start to repair itself again. The tendon impinged the most is the infraspinatus tendon. Therefore this third exercise is designed to train your infraspinatus muscle. When the muscle fully repaired, your shoulder pain is gone.

Perform the exercise like this:

  • Lay down on your healthy side with your painful arm pushed in your side
  • Keep your arm flexed in 90 degrees
  • Now rotate your arm so that your hand faces the ceiling
  • Repeat this ten times and do this three times

You can see how to perform the exercise in this video.

Perform this exercise twice a day, both in the morning and in the evening.

shoulder impingement exercise 3 train your infraspinatis muscle

Shoulder impingement exercise 4: Train your supraspinatus muscle

The last exercise is designed to train your supraspinatus muscle. The function of your supraspinatus is the abduction of the arm. However, when the pain in your shoulder is too heavy, training abduction will be too painful. That’s why we’ll start with lifting your arms forward. When you can do this quickly, you can begin training abduction of your shoulder. You can do this by raising your arms sideways.

Make sure not to move through the pain. When the movement hurts, it means that there is still compression of the supraspinatus muscle, which causes damage and slows down the recovery. After a few days you’ll notice that you can lift your arm higher without pain.

You can see how to perform the exercise in this video.

Perform this exercise twice daily, in the morning and the evening.

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shoulder impingement exercise 4 train your supraspinatus muscle

Conclusion
Shoulder impingement syndrome is very well treatable with a series of exercises. However, sometimes, shoulder impingement surgery is required to get you entirely pain-free. So when the activities don’t work for you, you should contact your doctor for further treatment.

If you have any questions left, feel free to send an e-mail.

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