Have you had a recent onset of shoulder pain without a specific incident or injury to your shoulder? Often, this is a condition of the shoulder joint known as impingement syndrome. Frequent overhead activity or repetitive lifting of the arm can pinch the supraspinatus, causing irritation and pain. This pain can occur with activity and at rest. If your pain continues for more than a few weeks, consult a doctor for proper diagnosis. A doctor or physical therapist can provide care to alleviate your shoulder pain.
Tips to avoid/manage shoulder impingement:
1. Focus on proper posture: Stand up straight with shoulders back.
2. Avoid repetitive lifting above shoulder height and other activities that cause shoulder pain.
3. If experiencing pain, ice your shoulder for 10-15 minutes at a time, two to three times per day. This will help to decrease inflammation, and therefore the pain. (You can use a bag of frozen vegetables with a paper towel between the skin and the bag to avoid skin irritation.)
4. Perform shoulder blade squeezes: Sit up straight and pinch shoulder blades together. Hold for 30 seconds.
Brandon Griffin, P.T., D.P.T., is a physical therapist for Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers. Brandon sees patients at the Edgewood location.