Shoulder impingement accounts for approximately 1/3 of all shoulder pain, a condition characterized by the repeated pinching of a nerve, tendon, or bursa in the shoulder. Shoulder impingement is a chronic condition that typically begins with a simple clicking of the shoulder and slowly progresses to a painful clicking, then slight loss of mobility or instability, and finally loss of function. Shoulder impingement can make the simplest activities difficult, from dressing yourself to combing your hair. Research shows exercise is at least equally effective or better than medications, injections, and surgery for most painful shoulder problems.
Gentle exercises for shoulder impingement:
- Crossbody stretch - Bring one arm straight across your body at chest level. Use your other forearm to hold it in place above the elbow. Push your arm towards your body until you feel the stretch in your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds and switch arms
- Pendulum - Bend forward at the hips so that your arm hangs down freely. Rock from your back foot to your front foot. Let your arm move in a circle, first clockwise, then counterclockwise. Do this for 1 minute. Repeat this 35 times per day or more often if needed for pain relief.
- Blade squeezes - Sitting or standing up straight, pinch shoulder blades together as if pinching a peanut between them. Hold 5 seconds and repeat 10 times a day
- Theraband rows - Holding the band with both hands and with it wrapped around a doorknob, pinch shoulder blades and pull back towards you as if rowing a boat. Perform 15 - 20 repetitions a day.
- Scaption elevation - Stand with your arms at your side and thumbs facing outward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Raise your arms forward and slightly to the side. Stop the movement when your arm reaches shoulder level. Stop before you experience any pain. Repeat 10 - 20 times, 2 times per day.
If you suspect your shoulder pain may be due to impingement, visit the orthopedic specialists at the Advanced Joint Replacement Center of Southern Oregon for an in-depth assessment and personalized treatment recommendation.
Dr. Ryan Colley attended medical school at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at Ohio University, studying all orthopedics fields, including trauma, joint replacement, sports medicine, pediatrics, and hand surgery. Dr. Colley focuses on all aspects of upper extremity joint replacement, reconstruction, trauma, and arthroscopy. He also performs robotic-assisted total knee replacement. Dr. Colley has authored several publications and book chapters. He takes a holistic approach to improve the quality of life for his patients. In his free time, Dr. Colley enjoys time with his wife and two children. They love to hike, fish, snowboard, and travel.