Our shoulders are one of the most complex joints in our body.
For that reason they can be quite susceptible to injury and inflammation.
The definition of impingement is “to have an impact, to encroach or to collide.” Overuse of the shoulder leads to swelling of the tendons which consequently collide or encroach on the upper shoulder bone and make it considerably painful to move. Let’s look at specific activities and 4 exercises to avoid worsening shoulder impingement pain.
Primary Causes and Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement
Impingement is also known as swimmer’s shoulder, and is also common in those who play baseball and tennis. Overuse of the shoulder is the main cause of shoulder impingement, with symptoms including constant pain in your arm, pain that gets worse at night, weakness in the shoulder and arm, and pain that moves from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm.
Activities to Avoid with Shoulder Impingement
In general, there are certain activities you should avoid if you are in pain from shoulder impingement. For example:
- Don’t throw anything, especially if it requires your arms to be overhead. That means no tennis or baseball until Dr. Glen T. Feltham, MD has officially cleared you for it.
- Weightlifting (especially overhead presses or pull downs) is problematic, so avoid that until you are cleared.
- Avoid swimming entirely until you have recovered.
- Avoid activities that keep your elbow from being aligned to your side.
Exercises to Help You Recover from Shoulder Impingement
It’s best to rest your shoulder, but you can do some light exercises to stretch the muscles in the arm, shoulder, and chest in conjunction with strengthening your rotator cuff. These exercises will help to avoid worsening shoulder pain impingement.
Sit or stand and pinch your shoulder blades together like you are pinching a small ball between them. Hold for 5 seconds and do this 10 times. Perform this exercise 3 to 5 times a day.
Stand in a doorway with your hand holding on to the door frame just below shoulder height. Turn your body away from your arm until you feel a stretch in the chest area. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat 5 times.
Stretch your arm straight in front of you and move it forward only using your shoulder. Then move your shoulder backwards as far as you can without moving your back or neck, while also avoiding any bending of your arm.
Lie on your uninjured side and bend your top arm in a 90 degree angle. Keep your elbow on your hip and rotate the lower arm toward the ceiling. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
If you experience pain while doing any exercises, discontinue them immediately, and speak with Dr. Feltham about ways you can treat this pain. It is also important to seek care from a shoulder specialist if you are experiencing a loss in your shoulder’s range of motion.