woman holding shoulder in pain

Shoulder impingement is a condition in which the tendons and bursa of the rotator cuff become compressed between the head of the humerus and the acromion process. The acromion process is a bony projection on either side of your scapula or shoulder blade. 

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common shoulder condition and is very similar to rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis. Both of these conditions result in considerable pain and can even occur at the same time. 

Symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome include difficulty reaching overhead and pain when the arms are extended above the level of the shoulder. A feeling of weak shoulder muscles can also be a symptom of impingement syndrome. If chronic inflammation persists in the rotator cuff tendons over an extended period of time, the tendon can tear. This condition is better known as a rotator cuff tear. A torn rotator cuff often results in significant pain in the shoulder, difficulty with motion, and even difficulty performing routine or daily activities. 

In most cases, an X-ray or MRI may be needed to determine the cause of the shoulder pain. Treatment options may include anti-inflammatory medications, daily exercises/ physical therapy regimens, or injections. If the pain and symptoms persist despite conservative care, surgical intervention may be needed to repair the tendon and improve the pain. 

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