Impingement Syndrome of the Shoulder
(Pronounced: “impintschment“ or “impinchment“)
The impingement / impingement syndrome is also known under different names such as e.g.:
• Shoulder-arm syndrome
• Shoulder entrapment syndrome
• Supraspinatus Syndrome
• Subacromial entrapment syndrome
• Rotator cuff entrapment syndrome or
• Humerus head – elevation .
The ideal distance between the head of the humerus and the bony acromion amounts to approx. 12mm.
In case of such ideal distance the head of the humerus can easily pass below the acromion without hindrance, if the arm is lifted.
An impingement syndrome of the shoulder will be diagnosed, if the distance between the humerus and the bony acromion has reduced to approx. 7 mm or less.
The “impingement“ or “impingement syndrome“ is defined as a stenosis in the shoulder joint or - more exactly - in the subacromial space of the shoulder joint. The humerus will get far too close to the bony acromion - mainly while the arm is laterally lifted.
The “impingement“ or “impingement syndrome“ usually results from a progressing muscular dysfunction of the so-called rotator cuff of the shoulder. The muscles Infraspinatus and Teres minor (see right), which are also called “external rotators”, are responsible for this dysfunction. In case of the impingement syndrome they are too weak for being able to keep the head of the humerus away from the acromion. .
If Infra Spinatus and Teres minor are too weak, the very strong deltoid muscle – starting at the humerus head and lying on the shoulder – will manage to press the humerus head against the acromion as soon as the arm is lifted.
The impingement / impingement syndrome of the shoulder is a disease which usually and almost unnoticeably turns to the chronic impingement syndrome in the course of years respectively decades. First warning signals such as e.g. severe stabbing pain occurring in the shoulder while the arm is lifted, are shrugged off as „wrong movement“. Even if this happens frequently, the concerned person will get over and ignore it for a fairly long time. The human beings can bear a lot; if necessary, the teeth are gritted.
Several essential millimetres of space, however, get lost this way in the course of the years.
But nobody knows it or is informed accordingly!
The symptoms of the impingement / impingement syndrome can get worse; severe pain in the shoulder will appear. The disease can even become chronic during the night (night pain) after intense sportive activities during which the arms were often stretched forward and/or lifted. In the same manner the impingement / impingement syndrome can progress to chronic pain in the shoulder as consequence of housework (such as e.g. painting the walls, hanging or taking down the curtains etc.) and corresponding job activities. The impingement / impingement syndrome usually also causes the calcific tendinitis of the shoulder and damages the supraspinatus tendon as well as the biceps.
How can the impingement syndrome of the shoulder be remedied?
After the doctor has confirmed the impingement syndrome, therapeutic exercises- aiming at strengthening the shoulder - should be prescribed by him as often as possible.
Experienced therapists know effective exercises to strengthen the external rotators Infra Spinatus and Teres minor so that the acromial space will be widened.
An effective widening of the acromial space, however, requires a long-term training therapy. In order to sustainably and noticeably heal an impingement syndrome, a suitable training therapy comprising the actual conventional methods of the physiotherapy would have to be applied twice a week during at least six months.
Apart from the time and organisation needed to meet these dates, no health insurance company will pay the costs for such long-lasting therapy. Consequently the concerned patient would have to bear a considerable contribution of several hundred euros. Moreover the training would need to be refreshed every few years to prevent a recurrence of the disease.
The AktiFlex® ShoulderTrainer is a quite favourable alternative. Concerned persons have the possibility to do shoulder exercises of their own at home in order to heal the impingement syndrome and keep the shoulder healthy.
Using the “ShoulderTrainer” you can do simple and smooth shoulder exercises at home within a very short time. The shoulder region can thus be strengthened and the joint cavity is effectively widened. A further sporadically executed conservation training may prevent falling ill with an impingement syndrome once more.
The AktiFlex® ShoulderTrainer is a purchase for life – a shoulder therapy for all family members which is always available, if required.
Another hint: A patient with the impingement syndrome of the shoulder frequently suffers simultaneously from a bursitis which should be urgently treated as well. In this case cooling is the method of choice and can essentially support the recovery. This can either be done by putting small cold packs on the appropriate shoulder or by using the very practical AktiFlex® Coolshirt. You can buy it - as well as the “AktiFlex-ShoulderTrainer” – in our Shop.
If you are interested in getting more information about the shoulder, please read our home page