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Healing shoulder impingement

The term shoulder impingement is used to describe the pinching feeling that results from the shoulder blade pressing against the rotator cuff - a group of muscles that work together to stabilise the shoulder joint. This injury is usually sustained in people who do a lot of overhead activities such as bowling in cricket and pitching in baseball. Your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to control the pain, but healing is usually through physiotherapy exercises.

The shoulder is a very unstable joint, having many spheres of movement, therefore if something goes wrong, it can take a long time to heal. You should be cautioned against using random exercises to heal your shoulder as you don't want to aggravate the condition. The following tips will help you heal your shoulder without having to resort to surgery or invasive means.

Rest your shoulder, especially by ceasing from the activities that caused the injury in the first place. Many athletes find this hard to do, but your recovery will be much quicker if you take the time to rest. Avoid trying to raise the arm directly overhead. This compresses the rotator cuff and causes pain. Avoid lifting heavy objects with the affected arm. Your goal is to rest the joint as much as possible. If you must move something with that arm, try sliding it along a table or counter.

Ice should be applied at regular intervals during the day and especially before bedtime. A shoulder ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables works fine. Be careful to leave the ice on for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.

Pendular exercises, where you bend over at the waist with the arm hanging down loosely and move it in small circles and back and forth, work best. These exercises reduce pain and help you increase joint range-of-motion. Also, remember, you should not feel pain when doing these exercises.

By following these tips you can return to normal activity level within a reasonable space of time. Make an appointment and see us first for a complete assessment and personalised exercise plan.


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