Syndrome > Treatments
Physical therapy, Corticosteroid Injection
If you have been diagnosed
with shoulder impingement syndrome, your physician may
prescribe over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
like aspirin or ibuprofen. Occasionally, some patients
are given injections of long-lasting anesthetics to
ease pain. A corticosteroid injection can be effective
in reducing pain, but care must be taken not to inject
the tendon directly, as this can result in weakness
and possible rupture of the tendon. Injections generally
are given at least three months apart, and exercises
involving resistance should be avoided for a week after
injection. Physical therapy is also likely to be recommended,
and if so, usually begins as soon as possible.
Exercises aimed at strengthening your
rotator cuff muscles usually can start as soon as possible
after you have been diagnosed with shoulder impingement
syndrome. However, your physician may recommend that
you rest for as long as one or two weeks, depending
on the severity of your injury and your involvement
in physical activities. Physical therapy to strengthen
your rotator cuff muscles usually progresses through
four phases. The time you spend in each phase depends
on the severity of your injury and your body’s
ability to heal.
first phase focuses on decreasing inflammation in the
rotator cuff. Your therapist usually helps you move
your arm and stretch your shoulder.
you feel comfortable moving your arm with your own strength,
the second phase of rehabilitation works on restoring
a full range of motion and strengthening the hands,
wrist, and elbow.
muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff have healed,
the third phase of rehab strengthens the rotator cuff
muscles. You usually learn shoulder-strengthening exercises
without weights and progressively add resistance as
pain goes away.
the muscles in the injured rotator cuff are about as
strong as the uninjured muscles, phase four of rehabilitation
becomes more activity oriented. You usually perform
sport specific exercises and coordination drills under
the supervision of a therapist or coach.
The best way to prevent recurring
impingement syndrome and associated shoulder injuries
is to make the strengthening exercises you learned in
rehabilitation part of your everyday routine. You should
remember to stretch your shoulder and warm up before
exercising. Sports that involve repeated overhead motion,
like baseball and tennis, inevitably strain your shoulder.
To prevent injury, you need to keep all the rotator
cuff muscles toned and flexible with an exercise program,
and you need to practice proper technique when doing
these activities. You also may need to alter your work
environment to avoid repeated overhead activities. Physicians
generally recommend that you ice your shoulder after
activities. Competitive athletes may need to use anti-inflammatory
medication, like aspirin and ibuprofen, after sports
activities that cause swelling in their shoulders. If
you feel persistent pain in your shoulder during activities,
you should cut back your activity level and return to
your physician for a check-up.