New guidelines for management of shoulder impingement are strongly in favor of physical therapy and away from surgery! These recent guidelines were posted in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and you can read more here. This is exciting news supporting conservative treatment that physical therapy provides versus more invasive techniques such as surgery.
As the research was examined, the findings revealed: decompression surgery resulted in no significant differences from other approaches—including PLACEBO surgery! The lack of difference was long-term, remaining at 6-month, 2-year, and 5-year follow ups.
Shoulder impingement occurs when structure that pass through your shoulder get pinched between the humerus and acromion that compose part of your shoulder joint. This can lead to irritation, pain, and wear and tear to structures such as the bursa (bursitis), supraspinatus (rotator cuff strain, tears, tendonitis, and tendinopathy), biceps (long head of biceps strain, tears, tendonitis, and tendinopathy).
The following helpful schematic visuals presents the findings for how to management shoulder pain from rotator cuff disease/dysfunction (RCD) and subacrominal pain syndrome (SAPS).
The fact that physical therapy is the ideal way to treat these pain syndromes is not surprising given that the shoulder joint is a complex joint comprising of 4 separate joints and myriad muscles that must coordinate well. Tightness, weakness, poor endurance, control, or posture at any of these points including at the shoulder blade (scapula) can lead to narrowing at the subacromial space and thus impingement. Reversing these problems can then increase the space and reduce the strain, pain, and irritation.
Having shoulder pain? Come to PT before a surgeon! Please note that these findings are for overuse and non-traumatic shoulder injuries present for more than 3 months.
Thanks for following along as we journey to: Get to the Source, and TOGETHER, get moving.