Shoulder Impingement: The 3 Most Common Causes

shoulder impingement, physiotherapy

Shoulder impingement can be a very painful condition that affects individuals from all walks of life. It accounts for about 44%-65% of all reported shoulder pain cases in the general population. Whether you’re an athlete, a desk worker, or a weekend warrior, understanding the root causes of shoulder impingement is crucial for effective treatment and prevention. In this blog post, we will explore the three most common culprits behind shoulder impingement, equipping you with the knowledge to take charge of your shoulder health.

1. Staying in a rounded posture for prolonged periods of time

One of the leading causes of shoulder impingement is sitting in a forward posture for hours on end. Modern lifestyles often involve long hours spent hunched over desks, laptops, or mobile devices, leading to a rounded shoulder position. This rounded posture compromises the natural alignment of the shoulder joint, resulting in compression and irritation of the tendons and tissues within the shoulder. Over time, this repetitive stress can lead to impingement. It is essential that you try and get as much movement through your day as possible. The body is designed to be in constant movement, and staying in ANY position for long durations can lead to pain. Even if you maintain the “perfect position” for 8 hours a day – eventually something will hurt.

2. Overuse and Repetitive Movements of the Shoulder Joint

Frequent and repetitive overhead movements can contribute significantly to shoulder impingement. Activities such as throwing, swimming, weightlifting, and even painting can strain the rotator cuff tendons and surrounding structures. When performed excessively without proper rest or recovery, these movements create inflammation and micro-trauma, narrowing the space within the shoulder joint. This restricted space increases the likelihood of impingement. By incorporating proper warm-up routines, utilizing proper form, and allowing sufficient recovery time between activities, you can reduce the risk of impingement due to overuse.

3. Muscle Imbalances and Weakness Leading to Shoulder Pain

Muscle imbalances and weakness in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint can also lead to impingement. When certain muscles in the rotator cuff or scapular stabilizers, are weak or underactive, other muscles compensate, altering the mechanics of the shoulder joint. An example of this is when your pec muscles are overly tight from sitting rounded all day, and your posterior shoulder muscles are overly stretched out. This imbalance can cause abnormal movement patterns in the shoulder joint and ultimately can contribute to impingement. Regularly incorporating strength and stability exercises that target all the rotator cuff, scapular muscles, and upper back can help correct these imbalances and provide the support needed to prevent shoulder impingement.

physiotherapy for shoulder impingement

What Can I Do About My Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement can be a debilitating condition, but understanding its causes empowers you to take proactive steps towards prevention and recovery. Our physiotherapists can help you identify the root cause of your shoulder impingement, create a customized treatment plan that will help you manage the pain through both manual therapy & exercise prescriptions. Regular and consistent physiotherapy sessions for your shoulder pain will help you to better understand your condition and equip you with prevention and effective pain management techniques.

Read about how a physiotherapist can help you manage your shoulder pain

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT Scarborough
1585 Markham Rd, Unit 308
Scarborough, ON M1B 2W1

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT, Naturopath Riverdale
377 Broadview Ave, Unit 101
Toronto, ON M4K 2M7