Shoulder impingement is one of the most common shoulder conditions seen by physiotherapy every week (making up 50% or more of our shoulder cases!) Someone with shoulder impingement will often come in reporting pain when lifting their arm or reaching behind their back, pain at night when lying on the affected shoulder, a referral pain pattern that radiates into the upper arm, as well as overall stiffness/weakness in their shoulder. This sometimes seems to come out of nowhere with no defining moment of injury!
How does this happen? Shoulder impingement happens when the rotator cuff becomes compressed between a part of your shoulder blade (the acromion), and a portion of your upper arm bone (the head of the humerus). This happens because people often try to perform repetitive movements in front of their bodies/overhead while their shoulder joint is in a very poor joint position (excessive shoulder rounding and poor upper back posture). This reduces the space the rotator cuff has to reside in, and ultimately leads to damage and wear-and-tear over time.
A careful physiotherapy assessment will identify the structures being affected, and get you on a tailored plan to correct joint position, protect your rotator cuff, and get you pain-free and moving well again. If caught early, the condition can be sorted in a matter of weeks!