Shoulder Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Shoulder Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder Rotator Cuff Impingement SyndromeShoulder Rotator Cuff Impingement Syndrome

One of the most common musculoskeletal problems is shoulder rotator cuff impingement syndrome. If you are affected by this condition, our expert shoulder Physiotherapists can help you reduce your pain, regain range of motion, and improve your strength and abilities with your shoulder.

What is shoulder rotator cuff impingement syndrome?

The rotator cuff muscles are four muscles that stabilize your shoulder joint and help with the movement of your shoulder. There is also a small sac filled with fluid that reduces the friction between the adjacent structures, named the subacromial bursa. Sometimes this sac became injured and inflamed otherwise known as bursitis of the shoulder.  In these cases, the swollen structures could become pinched or compacted during some movements of your arm leading to the condition known as shoulder rotator cuff impingement syndrome.

Causes of rotator cuff impingement syndrome of the shoulder?

Anything which constricts the small space where the muscles and the bursa lie in could cause shoulder impingement syndrome. This medical condition mostly coincides with the inflammation of the rotator cuff muscles tendons also known as rotator cuff tendonitis. Classically, this condition is due to repetitive activities (or micro traumas) such as elevation of the arm, overhead activities, repetitive rotation of the shoulder, pushing and pulling, and lying on the affected side that exert strains on the rotator cuff tendons and the bursa. A direct blow to the area, lifting a heavy load, and falling onto an outstretched hand could also be the cause. There are frequent reported cases of shoulder rotator cuff impingement cases in sports like baseball, swimming, and weight lifting. Bony osteophytic spurs (aka osetophytes) or any structural narrowing may also contribute to the development of shoulder impingement syndrome.

Signs and symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendinitisshoulder impingement syndrome

Common signs and symptoms that you have shoulder rotator cuff impingement, is if you feel pain in different aspects of your shoulder that may radiate to the arm. The pain worsens with certaine activities such as; elevation of the arm, overhead activities, rotation of the shoulder, pushing and pulling, lifting, and lying on the affected side compact the rotator cuff muscles and the bursa. In more severe cases there may be a restricted shoulder range of movement. The area may be tender and you may feel weakness when trying to lift or throw objects.

Early treatment for shoulder rotator cuff impingement syndrome

Employing proper early treatment often provides patients with a swift return to normal activities within a few weeks. However, in more severe cases, such as trauma, prolonged shoulder impingement, and tissues degenerative changes, the shoulder may take longer to heal. Early at home treatments for rotator cuff impingement syndrome includes:

  • Rest: Cessation of painful activities. Avoidance of intense activities even after the primary stages of the healing process.
  • Regular icing in early stages
  • Daily stretching in a warm shower: Instruction provided by a Physiotherapist
  • Drugs: NSAIDs (as per Physician/Pharmacist)

Physiotherapy for shoulder rotator cuff impingement syndrome

Physiotherapy helps to ease the inflammation around the tendons and the bursa and may include:

  • Physiotherapy Exercises: examples include Shoulder Blade Squeezes, Pendulum Exercises, Pendulum Circles, Rotator Cuff Strengthening Exercises
  • Ice or heat treatment
  • Therapeutic taping
  • Electrotherapy: Ultrasound
  • Joint manipulation
  • Acupuncture/ Dry needling
  • Joint mobilizations
  • TENS: For pain relief
  • Shockwave therapy
  • Trigger point releases
  • Guasha Massage / Traditional Massage
  • Graduated flexibility and strengthening program; improving shoulder blade stability, posture, and rotator cuff function
  • activity modification advice

See a Toronto Physiotherapist who is an expert to help relieve your pain and improve your shoulder’s range of motion improve your function. . Call Ace Physio today at 416-900-6653

About the Author

Brad SaltzBrad is a Registered Physiotherapist at Ace Physio, a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto. Ace Physio provides high quality one on one Physiotherapy that combined state-of-art technology such as; Shockwave Therapy, Laser Therapy, and Spinal Decompression with traditional Physiotherapy.View all posts by Brad Saltz