It is no secret that shoulder impingement issues can be unbearable and painful to endure. Common amongst athletes like golfers, swimmers and disc throwers, this injury will restrict mobility and greatly affect the athlete’s ability to perform. In order for full movement to be restored, rehabilitation and specific exercises have to be carried out.
What Is Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder impingement syndrome is an inflammation of the rotator cuff muscle tendons as they pass through the gap beneath the bony process on the scapula, known as the acromion. The acromion is a continuation of the scapular spine, a prominent plate of the bone. This problem can result in weakness, inability to move your shoulders and pain. It is also commonly known as painful arc syndrome, swimmer’s shoulder and thrower’s shoulder.
What Are the Causes?
Shoulder impingement syndrome is caused when the gap between the edge of the acromion and the head of the humerus is considerably narrowed. The muscle tendons will then get irritated and inflamed when it passes through this small gap. Any event that causes the gap to narrow even more will cause impingement. Over exertion, injury as well as calcification or thickening of the ligament can cause this to happen.
What Are the Symptoms?
The most common symptom is of course pain. Weakness and loss of movement are other symptoms of this problem. This pain is usually worsened when the action of lifting one’s arm overhead occurs. If you lie on the affected shoulder, you will also notice a considerable increase in the pain. Another symptom is a popping or grinding feeling when you move your shoulder.
What Sort Of Shoulder Impingement Exercises Can Be Done To Reduce the Pain?
There are various exercises that can be done to relieve the pain felt in the shoulder. However, keep in mind that these are rehabilitation steps and should not be in done in place of medical advice. Seek the help of a doctor first before attempting any home remedies. The last thing that you want is to misdiagnose yourself or to carry out exercises that may cause your injury to worsen. In some cases, surgery and selected medication are necessary for a full recovery so never discount a visit to the doctor if you are having trouble with your shoulder.
1. Supraspinatus Stretch
Start by placing the affected hand on your lower back. Use the other hand to pull your elbow forward while keeping your hand on your lower back. You will know that the exercise is working once you feel a slight tug at the back of your shoulder. Hold this pose for 30 seconds then repeat five times. If you feel pain or discomfort, immediately stop the exercise.
2. Anterior Shoulder Stretch
If you have an overhead pull up bar, then this exercise is perfect for you. Grab onto the bar or doorframe and gently push your body forwards, leaving your arm to stretch back. You will feel a gentle stretch when you do this. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and repeat it five times. Discontinue if you feel a sharp pain.
3. Chest Stretch
You will be surprised at how important your chest is when it comes to fixing your shoulder. Start by placing your forearm against the corner of a wall. Lean forward and turn away from the wall. You should feel a stretch in your chest muscles as well as shoulder and once you do, will know that you are doing it right. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and repeat five times.
4. Posterior Shoulder Stretch
This simple stretching exercise is easy to do. Place your arm across the front of your body and pull on it with your other arm. Hold this pose for 30 seconds then proceed to repeat this step five times.
5. Pendulum Swings
Lean over a hard surface like a table or desk and support your body with your uninjured arm. Let your injured arm hang straight down over the side of the table and gently swing it in a clockwise direction followed by counter clockwise circles. Finish up by swinging the arm in a gentle pendulum motion. Do this 30 times in each direction.
6. Tricep Stretch
Lift both arms up over your head with the elbows bent and pressed against your ears. Grasp the elbow of your injured arm and push downwards behind your head. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and repeat it five times.
7. Standing Adduction Stretch
As its name suggests, you have to stand while you do this. Place your injured hand behind your back and using your other hand, gently grasp the elbow and slowly pull. Hold this pose for 15 seconds then repeat five times.
Once you have started and completed the first seven exercises, move on to the second part of the workout. You should only start this once you feel more comfortable working out your injured shoulder as the last thing that you want to do is to aggravate the pain. Do the second portion of the exercise regime up to three times a week for maximum results.
8. Active Flex
Stand with your arm straight out in front of you with your thumb facing forward. Slowly raise and lower the arm and do so a dozen times or until you feel the need to stop due to the pain.
9. Active Adduction
Similar to the stance above, raise your arm outward to the side of your body and lift as high as you can until the pain becomes unbearable. Hold the pose for 10 seconds then repeat the motion several times.
10. Supine Triceps Extension
This exercise will involve lifting light weights. Start with something very light and the more your progress, you can increase the weights used but remember to never exceed seven pounds. Lie flat on your back with the elbow of your injured side bent near your head. Place the other arm by your side. Slowly extend the injured elbow out as straight as possible without moving the upper part of your arm. Do this slowly 10 times or stop before that if you feel too much pain.
11. Supine Press
Lie on your back with your elbows placed next to your chest. Flex them to a 90 degree angle before slowly raising and extending your arm straight up as if you are mimicking a punching motion.
12. Seated Dips
Sit on the edge of chair or table and grip the sides tightly. Slowly straighten your arms and lift your butt off the seat. Hold this pose for 10 seconds before lowering yourself back down.
The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it everywhere and at any time. Whether you are dining at a restaurant, taking a shower, sitting in traffic, or waiting in line at the movies, this exercise is simple and easy to follow through with. Slowly shrug your shoulders and remember to exaggerate your movements. Lift your shoulders up to your ears then push them back and pinch your shoulder blades together.
14. Towel Squeeze
Fold a dish cloth or smaller sized towel into fours and place it between your chest and injured shoulder. You can also tightly ball up the towel. Slowly squeeze your arm against the towel and chest by crossing your forearm in front of your body. Hold this pose for 10 seconds before repeating it.
15. Bicep Curls
Pick up a light weight with your injured hand and bend your elbow, bringing your hand up to your shoulder as far as you can lift it. Hold the pose for 10 seconds once your reach the top and gently lower your arm before repeating it as necessary.