shoulder impingement

Shoulder Impingement

What is Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder pain is one of the most common physical complaints people experience. The shoulder is a complex structure consisting of several components. Let’s take a moment and have an anatomy lesson to further explore all these important structures. The shoulder is a “ball and socket” joint, which gives us all the range of motion we have! The shoulder has three bones: the arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the collarbone (clavicle). The humerus is held into the socket by the rotator cuff muscles (4 total) and a bicep muscle tendon. There is a fluid-filled sac, also known as a bursa, at the very top point of the shoulder. There is also a labrum within the joint itself, which prevents the ball of the arm from rubbing bone on bone with the socket. Who knew there was so much going on in one area!

Shoulder impingement occurs when the rotator cuff tendons or the bursa becomes pinched or “impinged”. Commonly, shoulder impingement occurs with repetitive overuse movements. When repetitive movements occur, space, where these tendons lie, becomes narrowed over and over again. This can cause these tendons to become irritated and angry. Also due to repetitive movement, the bursa can become inflamed and fill with more fluid, which can cause pain.

Common Symptoms of shoulder impingement

  • Pain in the front of the shoulder when lifting objects such as a child, a heavy box from the floor, or groceries
  • Pain can be present even when resting
  • Pain when reaching behind the small of your back
  • A general feeling of arm weakness

Do I Need an X-Ray or an MRI?

Maybe. Dr. Miller and Dr. Murdock are trained to assess your shoulder pain and sort through all those structures at the shoulder to determine the cause of pain. Depending on their professional assessment, an X-Ray or MRI may be advised to take a further look at the structures themselves.

Treatment Options

There are a variety of treatment options to help reduce the symptoms associated with shoulder impingement. At Miller Sports & Family Chiropractic, we offer several treatment approaches to help calm that angry inflammation down within the shoulder and encourage healing and functional movement within the joint. Here are some of the options:

  • Chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue mobilization to restore normal movement
  • Laser therapy to encourage healing within the tendons and decrease inflammation
  • Home therapies and advice
    • Rest
    • Ice
    • Exercises to encourage normal motion
    • Strengthening exercises of the rotator cuff
  • KT Tape to help reduce inflammation and provide functional support


If shoulder pain is holding you back from performing your desired tasks, call us to schedule today! As always, Dr. Miller and Dr. Murdock pride themselves on assessing your condition and providing treatment options best suited for YOU. Contact us here at Miller Sports & Family Chiropractic, even if that means we can’t help you, we will find someone who can. After all, we want you to just feel better.

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