Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome and Treatment

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is caused by the excessive squeezing or rubbing of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade.

The pain is a result of an inflamed bursa sac over the rotator cuff, and/or inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons, and/or calcium deposits in tendons due to wear and tear. Shoulder impingement syndrome can lead to a torn rotator cuff.



Shoulder Impingement Syndrome needs to be treated---usually with anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

You must consistently take the medication for about eight weeks for it to be effective. Taking anti-inflammatory medications for a short period of time will treat the pain, but it will not treat the problem and symptoms will come back. You may have to try different medications to see which one will work for you.

Daily stretching in warm water will also help. You should try to reach your thumb up and behind your back. Rest is critical---so no baseball throwing/pitching, playing tennis or lacrosse. Also, don't do any activity where your elbow moves above shoulder level.

For most athletes, medication, stretching exercises and rest will do the trick.

If the symptoms do not go away after using anti-inflammatory medicines, your doctor might give you a cortisone-type injection. Cortisone is a very potent anti-inflammatory medication which can weaken muscles and tendons.

So, it should be used only in serious situations. Many times, professional athletes will take cortisone injections to "play through the pain" during the season (to temporarily put off needed surgery).

Your doctor might also perform an MRI or arthrogram to check for a rotator cuff tear. If the rotator cuff is torn, surgery will probably be needed to repair it.

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