Shoulders

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Also known as Swimmer’s or even Thrower’s Shoulder, the condition known as Impingement Syndrome occurs when tendons at the rotator cuff (ie the supraspinatus, subscapularis minor and infraspinatus muscles) becoming ‘impinged’ as they pass through the subacromial space near the shoulder blade. Repetitive pinching results in inflamed and irritated tendons.

How to tell if you have shoulder impingement syndrome

You experience:

  • Pain when raising your arm above the head
  • Pain in the shoulder that worsens over time
  • Pain when turning the arm sidewards or outwards

Rotator Cuff Muscle Strain

Supraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis and infraspinatus are the muscles that make up the rotator cuff and which in turn help to stabilise the glenohumeral (shoulder joint). Rotator cuff injuries are either due to either damage or inflammation to the muscle or tendon.

How to tell if you have a rotator cuff muscle strain

You experience:

  • Pain in the area or a particular pain point
  • Pain which is easily located

And, in chronic cases:

  • Pain accompanied by weakness
  • Raising the arm is difficult
  • The development of other impingement syndromes

AC Joint Injury/Separation

The highest area of the shoulder, the AC joint is where the shoulder blade and collar bone meet (acromium and clavicle). Any separation of the two is the result of damage to the ligaments. This type of injury varies by degree and should always be checked by a professional.

How to tell if you have an AC joint injury/separation

You experience:

  • A visible lump in the shoulder area
  • Pain, which starts off vague then becomes localized
  • Pain lifting the arm above shoulder level

Shoulder Stiffness

Often holding the body in a particular position for long periods of time (ie sitting at a desk or repeatedly digging) can result in tenderness and tension in the shoulders. This results in ‘knots’ which are best relieved via massage, stretching and joint manipulation.

How to tell if your shoulders are stiff

You experience:

  • Painful shoulders which also feel tender
  • Restrictions in the movement of the neck
  • ‘Knots’ in shoulder area