Typically, shoulder impingement is caused by repetitive motions. Weight lifters, tennis players, painters and construction workers are susceptible to shoulder impingement. At the same time, shoulder impingement can be caused by daily activities like driving, reading, working and cooking. The postures during these activities can affect the amount of subacromion space in the shoulders. The shoulders have three bones that are attacked by muscles and tendons known as the rotator cuff. When the shoulders are raised, the space between the acromion and the rotator cuff narrows. The rotator cuff and acromion can actually rub against the tendons and cause shoulder impingement. Those with shoulder impingement can have difficulty lifting their arm above the head or even putting on a coat. Left untreated, it can cause a tear in the rotator cuff. Good posture can help prevent shoulder impingement.
How Good Posture Avoids Shoulder Impingement
With good posture, there is no misalignment of the shoulder blade to throw off proper scapulohumeral rhythm. It also keeps the muscles around the upper back, shoulder and chest flexible. There’s no tightening of the trapezius muscle. Muscles tighten or stretch with poor posture. Overtime, this muscle imbalance leads to injury or muscle pain.
A Guide to Good Posture
Sitting, standing and sleeping in the right position leads to good body function and helps prevent shoulder impingement. Follow these tips:
- When sitting, keep your head straight forward and don’t let it tilt down. Sit with your knees slightly lower than your hips. Keep both feet flat on the floor.
- When standing, keep your shoulders back and aligned. Wear quality shoes for support and slightly bend your knees lessen pressure.
- When sleeping, use pillows to minimize spinal curves. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs for better support.
If you’re suffering from shoulder impingement, a physical therapist can be a lifesaver. A physical therapist will use both passive and active modalities to treat shoulder impingement. Hands-on treatment and stretching exercises will be used to help restore range of motion and shoulder biomechanics. Heat and ice and ultrasound may be used to enhance healing, reduce inflammation and lessen pain. Generally, it may take four to six weeks to get full function back. A physical therapist will also assess your workstation and what activities you do. They will suggest changes to avoid further problems.
If you are struggling with pain due to shoulder impingement, please call Elliott Physical Therapy today. We’ll get you on the road to recovery.