Subacromial impingement is a clinical sign of shoulder pain, with a mechanism of injury where sensitive shoulder tendons get impinged in the subacromial space at the anterior aspect of the shoulder.
It is mainly felt functionally with reaching and overhead activities.
There are several underlying causes of subacromial impingement, including (but not limited to):
- Reduced rotator cuff and scapular (shoulder blade) muscle control and strength
- Inflammation of the subacromial bursa
- Shoulder joint stiffness
- Rotator cuff bone spurs
Decompression surgery is a common method utilised to help relieve shoulder pain due to subacromial impingement. However, the latest research on this type of surgery indicates that exercise-based therapy may have the same pain-modifying effects in the long term (up to 1 year).
It is highly recommended that people suffering from gradual-onset shoulder pain try at least 6 months of exercise-based therapy from either a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist, before consulting a surgeon for an opinion on surgery.
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