What Is Shoulder Impingement and How Can a Chiropractor Help?

Published April 18th, 2022 by Devteam

Shoulder pain affects anywhere from 7 to 34 percent of the U.S. population, and shoulder impingement is often the culprit. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, impingement causes 44 to 65 percent of all shoulder pain complaints.

Could shoulder impingement be the cause of your chronic shoulder pain? If so, a chiropractor may be able to help.

Read on to learn more about what a chiropractor does and how than can work with you to address your pain or mobility limitations.

What Is a Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement is also known as shoulder impingement syndrome.

This is a condition that involves the acromion (the top, outer edge of the shoulder blade) rubbing against or impinging on the rotator cuff (the 4 muscles that originate from the shoulder blade and attach to the upper arm bone). Over time, this consistent friction causes pain and irritation.

What Are the Signs of a Shoulder Impingement?

If you're struggling with shoulder impingement, pain in or around your shoulder is the most common symptom. There are some other warning signs to be on the lookout for, though, including the following:

  • Pain when extending the arms above the head
  • Pain when lifting the arm, lowering it, or reaching
  • Pain and/or tenderness at the front of the shoulder
  • Pain that moves from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
  • Pain when lying on the affected side
  • Pain or achiness at night that can affect your sleep
  • Pain when reaching behind the back
  • Weakness or stiffness in the shoulder and/or arm

Most people with shoulder impingement syndrome notice that their symptoms come on gradually, usually over a few weeks or months.

Shoulder Impingement Causes

Anyone can develop a shoulder impingement. However, it's especially common in athletes who reach overhead often (such as swimmers, volleyball players, and tennis players).

Listed below are some specific issues that cause shoulder impingement syndrome:

  • Torn or swollen tendons from overuse, repetitive shoulder activity, or poor posture
  • An irritated and inflamed bursa (the fluid-filled sac that sits between the tendons and the acromion and allows the muscles and tendons to glide over the bones) from overuse, repetitive shoulder activity, or poor posture
  • Congenital defects, such as an acromion that does not lie flat
  • Bone spurs on the acromion, which are common in older individuals

Even if you don't know what caused your shoulder impingement, you can still reduce your existing pain and improve your quality of life in the future by working with a chiropractor.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for a Shoulder Impingement

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who specialize in treating and preventing issues that affect the neuromusculoskeletal system — including shoulder impingement syndrome.

Here are some specific ways that a chiropractor's services can combat shoulder impingement, reduce pain, and increase range of motion:


Chiropractic adjustments can be done by hand or with an adjusting tool.

During the adjustment process, the chiropractor applies sudden and controlled pressure to a joint (such as the shoulder joint or the joints of the spine). They do this to reduce inflammation, promote proper alignment, and reduce the friction that contributes to shoulder pain and mobility issues.

Mobility Exercises and Stretches

Contrary to popular belief, chiropractors don't just pop your joints and send you on their way.

In addition to offering adjustments, a chiropractor can also teach you a variety of mobility exercises and stretches. These movements will help you to rehabilitate your shoulder joint, strengthen your muscles, and enhance your range of motion.

Keep in mind, mobility exercises and stretches are not meant to be done only at the chiropractor's office. You'll also need to do them on your own time to truly see improvements.

By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you may be less likely to develop another shoulder impingement in the future. You'll also find that you can perform various activities with more ease. This includes simple activities like reaching overhead to put something away.

Posture Correction

Poor posture can also cause or worsen shoulder impingement, as well as many other joint, muscle, and tendon issues. If you slouch often (which is the case for most of us, especially those who work on a computer or spend hours per day on their smartphones), your tendons may become pinched and start to rub across the bursa.

Working with a chiropractor can improve or even eliminate poor posture, which may prevent your shoulder impingement from coming back.

Spinal adjustments are a common part of most chiropractors' posture correction protocols. The same is true of mobility exercises and stretches. 

How to Find a Chiropractor

When looking for a chiropractor, be sure to find one who offers corrective care rather than relief care.

Relief care chiropractors typically offer quick fixes instead of long-term solutions. Corrective care chiropractors, on the other hand, focus on improving overall health. They work to get to the root of what's causing your symptoms so they don't come back again.

Searching for a professional who offers corrective care is the first step. However, you'll also want to follow these steps to find a chiropractor to treat your shoulder impingement syndrome:

  • Review their credentials
  • Find out how long they've been practicing
  • Check out their list of services to ensure they can treat shoulder impingement and related issues
  • Read reviews and testimonials from past patients
  • Schedule an office tour (in person or virtual) to get a feel for the practice

You may want to contact the office to ask about pricing as well. This can help you plan ahead and budget properly for your care.

Get Shoulder Impingement Treatment Today

Shoulder issues — especially those caused by shoulder impingement — might be common in the United States. That doesn't mean you have to suffer in silence, though.

Are you ready to say goodbye to the pain and mobility issues brought on by shoulder impingement? If you're located in or around the Aventura area, we're here for you at Ocean Chiropractic Center.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services or to schedule your first appointment.

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