Swimmers Shoulder Treatment in NYC

If you have pain with putting your hand over your head, you’ll want to watch the below video. Today we’re going to talk about pain when people are reaching overhead or they’re doing overhead activities like weightlifting or just working overhead. It’s usually called shoulder impingement syndrome and it happens to a lot of people. It can also be exacerbated, especially in New York City, if you’re holding onto a subway pole and the car stops suddenly, that can also irritate it.

To understand how it happens, we have a couple pictures, courtesy of Radsource, that will show you a view of the shoulder to make you understand it better. This is a great lateral view of the shoulder. It shows the inferior glenohumeral ligament, middle glenohumeral ligament, and superior glenohumeral ligament. It also shows the dynamic stabilizers along with the long head of the biceps, the coracohumeral ligament, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor. Notice at the top of the picture the supraspinatus is just below the acromion process and the clavicle. If this is projecting downward, it will impinge upon the supraspinatus and can cause tearing.

This is particularly true with overhead work, such as weightlifting or just working overhead. If this occurs, the humerus will then push the supraspinatus up against the AC joint, and if the AC joint is downward projecting, that bone will actually dig into the muscle and can tear it. This picture gives an excellent view, front to back, of the glenohumeral joint, the AC joint, and the supraspinatus that is sandwiched between. You can see if the arm bone, the humerus, were to move upwards, such as when reaching overhead, how it can push up against the AC joint and injure or compress the supraspinatus. Over time this may lead to a full tear. Now the key here is to recognize the signs.

Reaching overhead painfully or being, having someone resist your arm as you push downward if that is uncomfortable, that is an indication there may be some impingement syndrome or the supraspinatus is inflamed and irritated. Remember, this is a compression issue. If the supraspinatus is inflamed, it will, like every other body part that gets hurt, swell up. If it swells up, that means that there is less room to work. If that occurs, it will continue to get irritated with any overhead activity.

Physical therapy works very well with impingement syndrome. It has to be taken care of sooner than later. What best can be done is to reduce the inflammation to the muscle, and increase the load on a tendon to strengthen the remaining fibers that are there to be able to hold the weight. So, if you or someone you know has pain with overhead reaching or working out overhead, you might want to consider some physical therapy. We here at Back and Body Medical work with many people with impingement syndrome. If you do want to see if we can help you out, give us a call.


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