At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors have extensive experience diagnosing and treating shoulder impingement. If you are suffering from shoulder pain, contact us today. Our practice is holistic and nonsurgical and our doctors are physiatrists who focus on pain relief and restoration of function. We have a broad spectrum of treatments to make you feel better as quickly as possible.

Shoulder impingement occurs when the top outer edge (the acromion) of the shoulder blade (the scapula), rubs against or pinches the rotator cuff tendon beneath it. This causes irritation and pain when the affected arm is lifted. This ailment is closely related to other common sources of pain in the shoulder, such as bursitis and rotator cuff tendonitis. These conditions can occur alone or in combination; our skilled physicians effectively treat all three.

Causes of Shoulder Impingement 

Shoulder impingement is typically the result of the patient’s pattern of movement, resulting from:

  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive overhead movement during work or athletic activities
  • Sleeping on the same arm night after night
  • Osteoarthritis caused by wear and tear or age-related bone spurs
  • An acromion that is not flat (a congenital anomaly)

Unfortunately, shoulder impingement is self-perpetuating since the more the tendon rubs 

between the humerus bone of the upper arm and the top outer edge of the shoulder, the more the soft tissue swells, increasingly narrowing the space and making further impingement more likely.

The pain that results from shoulder impingement is usually caused by a tear or swelling of the rotator cuff tendon or the irritation of the bursa (the fluid-filled sac between the tendon and the acromion). In any event, shoulder impingement requires diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement 

Symptoms that suggest shoulder impingement include:

  • Pain when you extend your arms over your head
  • Pain when you reach, lift your arm, or lower your arm from a raised position 
  • Pain and tenderness in the front of your shoulder
  • Pain that runs from the front of your shoulder to the side of your arm
  • Pain that is experienced when you lie on the affected side
  • Pain or achiness at night that keeps you from sleeping
  • Pain when reaching behind your back, as for a back pocket or zipper
  • Stiffness or weakness in your shoulder or arm 

Symptoms of shoulder impingement typically develop and worsen over a period of weeks or months.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Impingement

Our doctors have a well-earned reputation as careful and accurate diagnosticians. We take all the necessary steps to differentiate your particular shoulder problem, knowing that the more spot-on our diagnosis, the more effective our treatment is likely to be. 

First, we will take a thorough medical history and perform a physical examination to pinpoint areas of pain or soreness. We will also evaluate your range of motion and the strength of your arm and shoulder. Importantly, we will also ask you about any habitual activities that involve lifting your arms over your head and about which motions cause you the most discomfort.

We may administer X-rays, MRIs, and/or an ultrasound to check for arthritis, bone spurs, and soft tissue abnormalities or injuries. A definitive diagnosis of impingement syndrome can be made by injecting a small amount of anesthetic under your acromion to see if taking this action relieves your pain.

Treatment of Shoulder Impingement

In its earliest stages, shoulder impingement may respond to simple home remedies, such as rest, the application of ice packs, taking NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories), and refraining temporarily from the activities that make your pain worse. If these remedies do not provide sufficient relief, it is time to make an appointment at one of our five conveniently located offices.

Because Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine is a holistic practice, we offer a broad range of treatments, complementary as well as traditional, including:

  • Customized physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion
  • Corticosteroid/analgesic injections to relieve pain and inflammation directly at the source
  • Acupuncture to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the region
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) promotes healing
  • Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy, which treats pain and inflammation and increases blood flow to your cells to promote more rapid healing

Once we have diagnosed your problem, whether it is shoulder impingement or something else, we will discuss appropriate treatment methods with you, always paying close attention to your preferences.

Contact Our Experienced Shoulder Impingement Doctors Today

Pain in your shoulder that is extreme or persists for more than a few days requires a skilled medical evaluation. Resigning yourself to chronic discomfort may lead to further damage so be proactive and get in touch with us now. Once you meet with one of our doctors, you will feel the relief that comes from being treated by a capable, caring professional.

We treat patients with shoulder impingement and other musculoskeletal problems at 5 locations throughout Long Island – Great Neck, East Meadow, Huntington, Lindenhurst, and Lawrence.