Shoulder impingement is a very common cause of shoulder pain where the rotator cuff tendon rubs or catches on nearby tissue. Symptoms can occur suddenly, or over a period of time. Patients may report pain in the top and outer side of the shoulder, mainly when lifting the arm above the head or putting the hand in the back pocket. Discomfort is pronounced at night, leading to poor quality of sleep. Weakness may also be reported in the arm.
Treatment and advice will normally involve removal of known triggers, cold therapy, exercise therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Research shows that rotator cuff strengthening and stretching is effective for subacromial impingement and non-specific shoulder pain. There is encouraging evidence for low-grade non-specific shoulder pain, where supervised strengthening and stretching exercises are equally effective as corticosteroid injections.
Early diagnosis and intervention is key for any injury, this paves the way for a prompt recovery and a quick return to normal daily activities.
Abdulla, S. et al. (2015). Is exercise effective for the management of subacromial impingement syndrome and other soft tissue injuries of the shoulder? A systematic review by the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) Collaboration. Manual Therapy. 20 (5) 646-656.