FAQ: What Does Shoulder Impingement Feel Like?

Shoulder impingement

When you lift your arm, a tendon (band of tissue) inside your shoulder rubs or catches on nearby tissue and bone, causing impingement. Physiotherapists can help diagnose impingement and recommend exercises to help improve shoulder posture and strengthen your muscles.

Steroid injections

If rest and exercises don’t help, steroid injections into your shoulder can help. More than two injections aren’t usually recommended because they can damage the tendon in your shoulder, and the injections can also have side effects like permanent dimpling or skin lightening.


A subacromial decompression procedure, which involves widening the space around the rotator cuff tendon so it does not rub or catch on anything nearby, may be an option for shoulder impingement. The procedure is usually performed using small surgical instruments passed through small cuts in your shoulder.

Where do you feel pain with shoulder impingement?

When you raise your arm to shoulder height, shoulder impingement syndrome causes a recurring ache/pain on the outside upper part of your shoulder.

Does shoulder impingement hurt all the time?

When the arm is lifted overhead or twisted in a certain direction, pain is usually felt on the tip of the shoulder or part way down the shoulder muscle. In extreme cases, pain will be present all of the time and may even wake the injured individual from a deep sleep.

How long does shoulder impingement take to heal?

The majority of cases heal in three to six months, but more serious cases may take up to a year to heal.

How do you fix a shoulder impingement?

What is the treatment for it?

  1. Physical therapy. Shoulder impingement usually responds well to physical therapy, which involves gentle exercises to re-establish strength and range of motion.
  2. Medication.
  3. Surgery.
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What should you not do with a shoulder impingement?

Shoulder Impingement Activities to Avoid

  • Don’t throw anything, especially if it requires your arms to be overhead.
  • Weightlifting (especially overhead presses or pull downs) is problematic, so avoid it until you’ve been cleared.

How serious is shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement syndrome can lead to more serious conditions, such as a rotator cuff tear, if left untreated. Physical therapists can help people with shoulder impingement syndrome reduce pain and improve shoulder motion and strength.

Is ice or heat better for shoulder impingement?

Heat may relieve aching muscles, but it won’t reduce inflammation. Instead, use a heating pad or take a warm shower or bath.

How do you stretch a shoulder impingement?

To perform this simple stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the affected arm straight out in front of the body, below shoulder height, with the opposite arm gently pulling it across the body.
  2. Hold for 5u201310 seconds, then relax back to the starting position.
  3. Repeat 5 times.

How do you sleep comfortably with a shoulder impingement?

Sleeping on your back: Sleeping on your back is the best sleeping position for shoulder impingement because it puts little to no pressure on your shoulders, neck, and back, resulting in a pain-free sleeping posture for shoulder pain and helps keep your spine aligned.

Can you massage shoulder impingement?

The treatment for shoulder impingement is fairly straightforward, focusing on strengthening weakened muscles and stretching/massaging tight muscles to restore a normal balance throughout the region.

How can you tell the difference between a torn rotator cuff and impingement?

It differs from subacromial impingement syndrome in that instead of swelling causing pain and shoulder dysfunction due to repetitive or traumatic compression of structures, torn muscle fibres directly inhibit muscle function due to a loss of structural integrity.

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Do I need surgery for shoulder impingement?

While most cases of shoulder impingement can be treated without surgery, if nonsurgical treatment options fail to adequately relieve shoulder pain and improve range of motion, a doctor may recommend surgery to make more room for the soft tissues that are being squeezed.

How do you fix rotator cuff impingement?

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Impingement

  1. Pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, are over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that can help relieve your pain.
  2. Ice.
  3. Physical therapy.
  4. Injection.

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