Shoulder Impingement Rehab

3 things you won’t be asked to do during shoulder impingement rehab

Are you one of the many people afflicted with something called shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS)? If so, you’re not alone. SIS is commonly diagnosed and accounts for nearly half of all shoulder pain reported by patients. If this is something that you or someone you know struggles with, physical therapy could be very beneficial. Yet there are certain things your physical therapist won’t likely ask you to do during your shoulder impingement rehab sessions.

Here’s what you will probably not be asked to do during rehab:

  1. Throw something overhead.
  1. Lift heavy weights (especially overhead).
  1. Do an activity that requires pulling or pushing motions.

Physical therapists will try to keep these things out of your shoulder impingement rehab plan. One reason is that they can aggravate common shoulder impingement symptoms. They may also lead to additional shoulder damage and increased pain, which is the opposite of what your PT expert is aiming for.

What shoulder impingement symptoms can be aggravated by doing the things above during rehab?

  • Stiffness in the affected shoulder.
  • Pain or discomfort when lying on the affected shoulder.
  • Pain when rotating or lifting the shoulder.
  • A shoulder that’s painful or sore to the touch.

What are some causes of SIS pain that could get worse by doing the things above?

  • Injured tendons — Repetitive motions or overuse of the tendons in your shoulder can lead to swelling or tearing. Doing the negative things listed above can aggravate an already injured shoulder tendon.
  • Inflamed bursa — The sac filled with fluid, or bursa, in your shoulder could be inflamed from overuse or by doing the negative things above.

What kinds of people might have shoulder impingement pain?

  • Athletes — Sports that require frequent shoulder rotation and overhead motions, including swimming, baseball and tennis, are the kinds of sports that could cause or contribute to shoulder pain. 
  • Anyone who does repetitive overhead motions — Shoulder pain often presents itself in people who live an active lifestyle, do physical labor or even do something as simple as painting. The reason is that all these types of people tend to do repetitive, overhead shoulder movements.

Here’s what your physical therapist will likely do:

  • Ask you questions about your condition.
  • Watch your movements and carefully observe shoulder mobility.
  • Evaluate the strength of your shoulder and other related areas.

Interested in learning about the benefits of shoulder impingement rehab? Treatment options can vary based on your individual needs. Often, though, physical therapy can be particularly helpful for this kind of pain. Read here to find out how shoulder impingement physical therapy can benefit you.

Our SOL Physical Therapy team is here to help you. Our physical therapists will work with you to get your body back on track. We offer flexible solutions for your needs, and we always place your health first.

Contact our team today for more information about rehabbing your shoulder or to schedule an initial appointment. 

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

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