Shoulder Impingement

What is Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement is a condition that causes pain and pinching sensation in the shoulder. It can also decrease a person’s range of motion. Anyone can get shoulder impingement, but people with certain risk factors are more likely to develop it.


People who participate in sports that require frequent and repetitive use of the arms and shoulders, such as baseball, swimming, tennis, and football, are at higher risk of developing shoulder impingement. Additionally, those who frequently perform heavy overhead lifting, such as construction workers or movers, also have an increased risk to develop impingement.

Shoulder instability

Shoulder instability refers to when shoulder muscles, tendons, and ligaments no longer secure the shoulder joint causing pain. As a result, the shoulder is prone to partial dislocation, dislocation, and other conditions, such as shoulder impingement.

Previous shoulder injuries

People who have sustained injuries to the shoulder joint, such as a torn labrum, may be at risk for developing shoulder impingement in the future.

Poor posture

Posture while reading, sitting at a desk, driving, or cooking, can play a role in the development of shoulder impingement. Hunching or slumping the shoulders can cause the narrowing of the space between the acromion and rotator cuff.


Shoulder impingement is most often seen in adults over the age of 50, although it can develop at any age

Shoulder Impingement Symptoms

People with shoulder impingement often report:

Pinching pain during certain movements. A pinching sensation at the top of the shoulder may be felt during:

  • Overhead activities, such as reaching for something on an upper shelf in a closet or kitchen
  • Throwing, such as when pitching a baseball or serving a tennis ball
  • Reaching behind the back to zip or button a shirt or dress
  • Sleeping on the stomach, with arms out to the side or above the head
Non-medical Treatment

In most cases of shoulder impingement, nonsurgical treatment options will be recommended first. The goals of nonsurgical treatments are to:

  • Reduce inflammation of the affected soft tissues
  • Improve range of motion
  • Improve supporting muscle strength and posture to increase the shoulder’s subacromial space
  • Restore joint function
  • Reduce pain

In order to address impingement, a dual treatment of chiropractic and soft tissue is the most effective, long term treatment. First of all treatment is aimed at restoring good pain free range of motion using mobilisation, manipulation of upper back and neck and soft tissue techniques. Part of your initial assessment at Elite Performance Therapy will also include looking for muscular imbalances that are present which may be the cause for injury.
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I met with Isy in early January 2021 as I’d been suffering with a long standing shoulder injury for over 18 months and wanted some new ideas and input as to how to improve it as well as hands on treatment. I’ve found Isy’s knowledge and approach to this excellent as well as her great work she introduced me to her colleague Sarah (Chiropractor) which complimented the work Isy had already done. Three months in and lots of attention from Isy and Sarah, the shoulder is considerably better than it was before. Thank you very much.


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