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What is shoulder impingement?

Shoulderimpingement syndrome is a common problem in many middle–aged andelderly people. Shoulder of a human is constructed in such a waythat it allows for both a large degree of freedom of movement and forsignificant amount of strength. This is allowed by complex structureof the joint and several muscles that control movement of bones thatform it. When the bursa (a lubricant sac and a cushion for themuscles of rotator cuff) in the joint and a tendon known assupraspinatus tendon become crimped by the upper arm bone andacromion (outer edge of the shoulder blade), this condition is knownas shoulder impingement.


Shoulderimpingement is usually a result of prolonged use of the shoulders inone position, typically with elevated hands. Prolonged stay (andload) of the shoulder in such a position can cause shoulder pain andlead to damage to the rotator cuff. Also, lack of space between therotator cuff and the acromion is known to cause this condition. Inmost people, the tendons of the rotator cuff slide over the acromionwhen they raise their arms. In some people, the tendons, and theacromion are grinding.

Symptomsand treatment

Painis felt when making upward and downward movements of the shoulder.Shoulder muscles might weaken. In some cases, top external part ofthe shoulder hurts even if the shoulder is not moved. Treatmentincludes exercises and medications or surgery.Surgery is regarded as a last resort, when neither exercises nor medication provide relief, or the symptoms are persistent. Fortunately, most people will be able to resolve this condition by exercising.

Someexercises that help

A tricepstretch is easy and effective. Put the palm of your hand at the backof the head, with the elbow bent. Touch your bent elbow with yourother hand and then try to pull the hand down from the head. Stay inthis position for some time, relax, repeat with the other hand.

Putboth hands at the back of the head. Pull elbows back gradually untilyou feel a sufficient stretch in the shoulder muscles. Hold, relax,repeat.

Make8 to 10 repetitions of each exercise, for each arm. Remember to takea shot break between repetitions and a bit longer break betweendifferent exercises. Also, do not overstretch the muscles, be surethat you feel the muscles stretching but not to such extent that itis painful or unpleasant.

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