At Joy Lane Clinic, Whitstable our Osteopaths and Physicians see patients with shoulder complaints almost on a daily basis. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder.
Subacromial impingement syndrome (SAIS) refers to the inflammation and irritation of the rotator cuff tendons as they pass through the subacromial space, resulting in pain, weakness, and reduced range of motion within the shoulder.
What causes shoulder impingement?
- Your tendon is torn or swollen. This can be due to overuse from the repetitive activity of the shoulder, injury or from age-related wear and tear.
- Your bursa is irritated and inflamed. Your bursa is the fluid-filled sac between your tendon and the acromion. Your bursa helps your muscles and tendons glide over your bones. Your bursa can become inflamed due to overuse of the shoulder or injury.
- Your acromion is not flat (you were born this way) or you have developed age-related bone spurs on your acromion.
What are the symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome?
- Pain when your arms are extended above your head.
- Pain when lifting your arm, lowering your arm from a raised position or when reaching.
- Pain and tenderness in the front of your shoulder.
- Pain that moves from the front of your shoulder to the side of your arm.
- Pain when lying on the affected side.
- Pain or achiness at night, which affects your ability to sleep.
- Pain when reaching behind your back, like reaching into a back pocket or zipping up a zipper.
- Shoulder and/or arm weakness and stiffness.
How is it treated?
- Home care. Rest is very important when it comes to treating shoulder impingement.
- Physical therapy. Shoulder impingement usually responds well to physical therapy, which uses gentle exercises to rebuild strength and range of motion.
- Corticosteroid injections.