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Shoulder Impingement

Updated on January 19, 2014

The Phases of Shoulder Impingement

I'd never even heard of it until I got it!

At least that's what we think it is. This is not a medical site, this is just what happened to me, and what I went through as diagnosed Shoulder Impingement. I hope it helps some of you through it. Sometimes even though you've gone to Physical Therapy, it helped, but nothing really ever cured it.

Phase 1. When you think you've just got a pulled muscle.
Phase 2. It gets worse after you've rested it.
Phase 3. It's so bad, you have to go to physical therapy because you can't move your arm.
Phase 4. You get a bit better, and have to remember to stretch every day, especially in the morning.
Phase 5. At some point your should will feel as if it has to pop into place. Do an isometric exercise and usually you can move it so you hear a pop then you are able to move your arm better without it having that "caught on something" feeling!

  • (Sometimes, that "caught" feeling could be a bone spur, please ask your Doctor to check that out, having it removed could make a world of difference!)

Phase 6. Stretch, everyday, over your head, to your back, it's going to hurt, even if you do have pain medicine, work with it when you take it. You've got to keep your body mobile or the pain will be too much!

How to massage a shoulder impingement!

Without hitting the bone, this muscle needs firm but not more painful massage. It gets very tense and this helps relax that tendon and muscle.
Without hitting the bone, this muscle needs firm but not more painful massage. It gets very tense and this helps relax that tendon and muscle.

How to help ease the pain!

Shoulder Impingement is the second most painful thing I've had in comparison to having a 10lb child! Mine came about while trying to use an axe to cut down a small tree. I thought it would come down easily but it didn't. I felt a pain shoot across my shoulders, and went inside. I put heat on it thinking I might of just pulled a muscle. BIG MISTAKE! Put and ice pack on it, the best thing is a BAG OF FROZEN PEAS!

They will mold to your whole shoulder, just put a small hand towel or dry washcloth between you and the plastic so it won't hurt your skin!

I waited about 4 or so days before going to the doctor. THAT WAS TOO LONG! By then my right arm was basically useless, not to mention I was in such pain I was in tears. I was given some pain medication and it said take with food or milk. I really don't drink much milk, but it was horrible pain just making a piece of toast to get down so the pain medicine wouldn't give me an upset stomach. And YES, for some people that is necessary. It's best if you can just get a package of something easy to open and eat before taking pain medications if they make you have an upset stomach. Get rolls or something premade if possible. Just for your mornings. After your medicine works, you'll be able to get other things to eat before your next dose.

At the doctor, they did all the normal things, get ex rays, send me to an othopedic surgeon, and sent me to physical therapy. The Orthopedic sergeon sent me for an MRI on my shoulder. Normally they're not painful at all! It's like an ex-ray, but it ex rays the soft tissues that a regular ex ray doesn't see. The only reason I had pain during it was having to stay still and in one place with a piece of very soft (thing?) holding my shoulder in place so it could get the necessary scans.

If you are overweight, the machines aren't quite well equipt for overweight people, so if you cannot fit in the machine, you won't be able to eat much either, so you might lose a few lbs just on that note, but rescedule and get yourself in that MRI machine if possible! It will GREATLY help the doctor decide what is the best help for you, although this is what they did for me, everyone is different, it might not be as bad for you, or it could be worse. Just save your time IN CASE it is worse and get to the doctor and get HELP to get better!


GO. It will help. But you must make them aware not to make sudden movements of your arms/shoulders or back! You might hurt worse, some are more aggressive, and some are not. I prefer not to be crying when I leave! A good physical therapist will NOT put you through more pain than you can handle and will be sympathetic to your pain. I actually went to another hospital's therapy because they were too rough at the other. I don't know for some people, but it was a slow process, but going to physical therapy and being helped by people who are sympatheic to your pain, also know the best, and quickest ways out. ... if not, ask your doctor for another referal to another hosptial, find out what your insurance will pay. If you're low income, and get any assistance, then call your case worker and ask for gas vouchers. They will help you get back n' forth. Some states also have a Van that picks up some people who cannot drive. As your case worker about that.

While that is great, it helped, there's little things about it, not medical that they might not think of. Like if you can sleep with a pillow between your arms, or a sort of flat one under your arm, you will go from a thick to thinner one to none though the healing process.

Here's a list to help you remember:

  • Keep an extra bag of peas or ice pack in your freezer!
  • Keep something easy to open and eat to get medicine down.
  • BUY PILLOWS that fit your needs. Get a pillow maybe you are done with that is sort of flat. Put it between your upper arm and side while laying on your opposite side. (name it your armpit pillow!!!) :)
  • Put a firm pillow awhile you're still in pain, under your head that is even with your shoulder, so you do not put too much pressure on your other shoulder! It will also help your back and your neck! A GOOD INVESTMENT!
  • Try to sleep for a few nights on a sofa where your back can lean if need be. It will help keep you proped from rolling to your back. And waking in PAIN.
  • Keep your pain medications (and that food item) close to your bed, if you have no children or any worries of the wrong person (or animal) getting these things, put them in something YOU can open with ease that they cannot, If you don't have these worries, (I didn't) then put them in a dish so they don't roll onto the floor, and put your bread or other morning snack, like a pop tart, whatever suits you so you can take your medication before you begin to get moving!

Pain medication is great if you can tolerate it. Some have strange side effects. I went through one of my worst side effects for about a week, and the dreams were the worse nightmares you could have. So I would wake, moving quickly, and cause myself more pain, and loss of sleep. If you can get past this stage they will help you.

  • It is a MYTH (in my opinion) that people get addicted to pain medications quickly, so please do not worry about that, but talk with your doctor about it. Tell them you are concerned and do not want to fall into that sort of trap. You'll know the signs when you are (if you are) getting addicted, this is when you should talk to your doctor. Not AFTER you are totally addicted! That's another sort of LIVING HELL you do not want, on top of having chronic pain.

One way of knowing the beginning of an addiction is THINKING you need more. It doesn't mean you don't, you might certainly NEED more for real! It's when the side effects that make people "high" or "speedy" that you start looking for is when it's not good.

At whatever level worked to get rid of your pain (or minimize it, it takes a lot, too much to totally get rid of the pain) is all you're going to need. You just stop feeling that side effect in your head, but your pain is relieved, then YOUR PAIN MEDICATION IS WORKING!!

If you can at all get your doctor to put you under (into a sleep) they can manipulate your shoulder around and a lot of the little bones and things that do not show up on an ex ray are out of place, will slide back in. But there's just no way to tell how they are. Most doctors won't even acknowledge that sedating a patient is a tremendous help. It sure helped me. I am still in pain, yes, but it "helped" a great deal. More than the anti-inflamatory meds, more than PT and a lot less painful.

Another option (if you can stand shots in weird places) is to have a cortizone shot in the tendon that leads from your shoulder to your neck. It will shrink that tendon and make it easier to move. I know someone who had a mild impingement, and after his shot, he has never needed another one, and he has totall full range of motion with that arm.


After awhile it gets really tiring sleeping only on your back. If you're a side sleeper, then you might know what it's like to need to sleep on your side. You're going to have to get pillows! That will be one of the main things that's going to help you through a sleep. (keep in mind I didn't say good nights sleep). You're going to need your head even with your shoulder just as if you were standing. This is when you can stand to get on your side, before this stage, you're pretty much stuck on your back. Sitting with your head leaning on a pillow in a recliner is a great help too. But back to keeping your head even and straight with the pillow.

Then if you have a rather fluffy long one (if you don't, get investing) you can lay your hurt arm, over the pillow and it will cradle the feeling in your shoulder.

Get a glass of water, and a pain medicine and keep it by your bed. (PLEASE MAKE SURE CHILDREN DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO ANY OF YOUR MEDICATIONS! AGAIN, I STRESS THIS!) Within reach with your good arm. This will help you when you first wake. Take the pill, (and food) and try to lay there for about a good 40ish minutes. The pain medication will be kicking in, and when you try getting yourself up, you'll have that little bit of help! If there is any way you can set something up to grab onto with your other arm is also a great help in pulling yourself up. (if you're alone, and even if you're not, sometimes it's too painful to sleep with someone)

When you've found out this is the real injury to your shoulder and are in the process of healing, I cannot stress how much you need to stretch. In the morning. As soon as your pain medication begins to work. Because if you don't, when you don't have any pain medicine, it will be harder to stretch the way you need to. Getting funtional with a shoulder impingement is a long (about 2 years for me) process to be able to do regular household chores without resting in between. Don't get me wrong, I do still have to rest if it's something long, or heavy. I still cannot fold a whole load of towels at ONE time. I have to break them down into smaller wash cycles so I can get them done.

And don't forget ICE PACKS, FROZEN PEAS, ARE YOUR FRIENDS RIGHT NOW! Try to get that extra bag of frozen peas or something so that it will shape to your shoulder. It will help shrink the inflamation. I just cannot stress how much ICE works better than heat. If you ever get heat, it will be wet heat they use at the hospital's Physical Therapy room, and it will feel great. But theirs is not something you can make at home. Another perk of going to PT.

If you have anyone at home who is sympathetic to your pain, the photo above is the best way to keep your neck muscle limber. Try doing this after a hot shower or bath. (sometimes getting in/out of the shower is such a task with bad shoulders!) But if you have someone who will massage in the way that's shown in the photo, it will greatly help relax that muscle and it will help the tendon relax as well.

TRY HARD TO STAY OUT OF STRESSFUL SITUATIONS! When your muscles tense up, your pain will increase! It's a fact! A very sad fact, but a fact none the less!

I actually fell down a couple of times because I had bad eyesight. That's fixed now but I think I may have made mine worse because of it. Anyway, the pain shifted from my right shoulder to my left. The ex rays showed the pain going all the way across. So I went for about a year with my left shoulder.

I have to say tho, one really annoying thing is, the drug stores didn't start coming out with caps that are not childproofed and I have had some hard times getting the meds out. They do now, but they didn't then! ASK FOR THEM, you'll be glad you did! If you have children, please, use those, and maybe have someone else open them for you.

Really, I hope you don't have to ever go through this, but if you do, and you have questions about anything, or need any help feel free to email me.

The only thing I think I was able to help anyone with in Physical Therapy was the fact this lady wanted to curl her hair, but she couldn't reach the back of her head. Since I have long hair, it just hit me, how do I wash it?! I told her, lean over putting your head far down as you can, and you might can reach to put your rollers in. Sure enough, she tried it, and was able to lift her arms and shoulders to the very back one. I felt good that I could at least help someone there, and I hope something in this helps you as well! Thanks for reading! And above all,

KEEP STRETCHING... everyday!

Did This Help You?

I'd like to know if I shed any light to coping with the pain of Shoulder Impingement?

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    • profile image

      5 years ago

      I know I'm posting a long time after this was posted. I am having shoulder problems but cannot have an MRI due to surgical screws. Is there another test they can do to diagnose?

    • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Lost in America

      Hello Amy I'm sorry you're having to suffer this pain, I really wish I could say this too will pass but that's not a promise one can make. What works for one may not for someone else.

      I've only known of one person to get the cortisone shot and never needed it again. And yes posture, even sitting is imperative to lessen the pain. The way you lean, set even bathe has to change if one ends up hearing they'll just have to learn how to deal with the pain. Good luck and remember keep some sort of ice pack handy because until you get used to finding your "comfort sleep" you'll need that cold ice!

      Have either of you seen and had your MRI scans explained to you? Where you can see exactly where your pain is? Please do ask to see them and have the Dr show you what to look at on it that shows the pain. It'll help you baby it until it either heals or keep it (the pain) at bay so you don't feel immobilized forever!

      Geoff, ibuprofen is good (great) for reducing swelling but this isn't really that kind of I jury, although it can swell and cause pain. It's more of a pulled or small tear in the tendon or muscle. Time and gentle stretching and keeping up with what they teach you in Physcial Therapy is your best way to fight the pain. I've been on several medications and I found the best relief was 2, 7.5 hydrocodone & a soma helped me get a fuller range of motion than anything. The problem is you have to have some really bad pain to squeeze a soma prescription from a doctor. I actually want to make a hub about drug abuse because its those people who take the real relef away from those of us who need it and don't abuse it.

      For anyone else always remember when you get that "caught" feeling try to lean your shoulder in a doorway, and let your body weight push the bones back, as sometimes it helps because from not using it as you normally would you will lose muscle mass letting the bones slip out easily. Also lean ON it as if you're leaning on a person beside you. This pushes the bones where they belong. Isometrics are a great help as well. good luck and my best wishes for a FULL recovery!

      Oh and there is a yogurt drink called Kefir found by the health drinks, it's a probiotic that helps with the digestive problems that help with the problems of having to take a narcotic.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hey all, Thanks for the helpful input! I have been suffering from a shoulder impingement for 2 months and finally saw an MD and got a Cortisone shot 2 days ago, after trying 400 mgs of Celebrix for a week, prior to the cortisone shot. Before that, I was taking a lot of IB Pro-fen. The Cortisone has provided a little relief but the best thing I have done, is today, watched the video done by a PT (posted below) and started the exercises shown. Have a look. They really seem to help, as my posture has been very poor, impairing my improvement, as explained in the video. Good Luck!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Your story was helpful in the way that someone else understands. The pain is horrible most of the time. I'm going on 3 months with this-the first 6 wks of me doctoring it myself. I'm just finishing my second month of PT and really no significant results to speak of. My next move will be to visit an ortho doc. It was nice just to read someone saying the same things I've been dealing with. Thanks.

    • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lost in America

      Hi Tiffany, I'm so sorry you think you could have this! If you've not seen the Dr. yet and had an MRI done you cannot be sure it's an impingement.

      But NO PLEASE DO NOT PUT HEAT ON IT!! Heat made mine worse! And not going to the Dr made it worse, please go as soon as possible!

      It doesn't mean you can't do cheerleading, it will depend on you! If they get the MRI results and see tissue in there that is damaged you can get (sorry this might sound painful) a shot in that tendon or the bursa which helps shrink it. Also going to physical therapy helps if you wait too long. You might have to put off cheerleading if you wait and you don't want to do that because in my opinion it's a great way to stay in shape in your youth and don't stop the exercises once you are out of school!!

      It won't seem swollen because it's under the bone. But in physical therapy they'll show you how to make room in there for the swelling. Also for keeping your bones going in the right place! Like one thing that will help increase the space for a swollen bursa or the tendon is having someone take your arm both close by your armpit and your elbow and pull gently outward. That opens that area and will relieve the pressure. Please please go to the Dr as soon as you can I hate to think if it is an impingement it could hinder your cheerleading. Try to go on Monday if you can, and if you really want to continue cheerleading, accept that darn shot. It only stings in that area for about a day but it shrinks everything and helps you get full range of motion. DON'T PUT IT OFF GIRL, GO!!! Let me know how you are! And please refer to the "pillow" part of this hub, the "arm-pit" pillow will help you get some sleep as well as doing the exercises. Like crawling your fingers up the wall just bit by bit each day! Please keep me informed ok! Good luck hon!!! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi there I am 14 and if I have a shoulder impingement does that mean I wont be able to do cheerleading this year and do u apply heat to the shoulder joint because it

      Makes my pain get a little worse what do u recommend for my pain I haven't seen a docter yet its been like this for 2 days I think it really hurts but it's not swollen

    • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lost in America

      Hi Alisha, tingling makes me think a pinched nerve. If it's inflamed then I think that sounds more like arthritis or bursitis.. tell them you want an ex ray, this doesn't sound like an impingment. And if the tingling doesn't stop tell them to give a referral to a SPORTS specialist. I went to one for my knees and found it was arthritis.

      Sometimes, a pinched nerve will work it's way out. Keyword here "sometimes" the only way to tell that is an MRI. Good luck I hope you get back to playing.

    • profile image

      alisha whitten 

      7 years ago

      Hi I play softball....I went to the doctor about my shoulder they said it was inflamation but I believe it may be more....when I go out to play ball and throw it my arm starts to tingle and feels like it may be dead...I love softball and still want to play I need a little advice on what to do..when I did go to the doctor they gave me some ibuporfen help me

    • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lost in America

      Kimberly I'm so sorry I have not been here to respond sooner. If you've had the cortizone shot and you're still having pain, I am interested in knowing what your MRI showed. Mine had white lines through and through it.

      You describe what I've been through the past 6 years. Everyone is different. I hate to say but it's going to be a trial and error until you find what's right for you.

      I had been through a plethora of medications and yes narcotics work the best along with a drug called soma, but are very very addicting. Some times I feel like, I know mine (not everyone, hopefully not you) that sometimes I feel like so what if I have to take it the rest of my life. There are problems other than that, that go along with narcotics. Severe constipation in which laxative along with the perocet or vicodin (both similar) take a toll on your digestive tract. If you are one of the lucky ones you will recover, but it could take years. Sometimes only months and not become addicted. Soma is a great muscle relaxer but Doctors are very hesitant to give it out because mixed with either drug above becomes a heroin type drug when mixed, so I only get a few pills and only once a year if that.

      I've had one person write me and after all her trial and error she'd gone and gotten a good massage and not just any but a specialist. She got relief and was back to work quickly. I'll never be able to even sit at my computer again for any length at a time so I have to have them at different levels as I depend on it now as my sole source of income.

      I have prior experiences and many places so I can go from that lounge chair to computer chair but I have to have two computers. It depends on YOU and what has happened when you threw that pear. I still have to sleep almost sitting and each morning do an isometric to pop them back into their (what I now call "homes") places. But I also have arthritis they found when looking at my ex rays. Now I have had a fall and same found in both knees. So all house work and even grocery shopping is done in segments not in one swoop. No doing a load of towels then folding all of them without resting in between.

      Narcotics also have the dreaded tolerance and side effects. My first 6 months on them had me screaming in nightmares which subsided. PT is slow, and luckily they understand your pain. If you have this long term, you'll have to (I'm sorry if it's true) learn to live with it but there are things to help.

      Not only is it painful, but it's mentally stressful not being able to do what you used to and an antidepressant can help. Some people become depressed because they feel the lack of life they once had. Depression exacerbates pain.

      I know this is the last thing anyone who reads this wants to hear, but do NOT stop moving!! Stretch slowly even if sitting. Pillows of different sizes become a norm. They say change your pillow every 6 months, and I go through a lot more than that. Even those decorative ones! My elbows cannot touch my sides in sleep without something to stop them, and I go from the recliner, to the bed etc. rinse wash repeat! :(

      Prednizone is a good steroid, but not good for long term, maybe to help you get through PT, and Flexaril is "ok" if it works, it worked a little bit for awhile but I get the restless leg thing with it.. thus, no sleep.

      Ibuprofine (spelling sorry it's late) is helpful if you can get those huge things down, but again long term, you need more to compensate.

      After the fish oils and all the above I just finally seen a SPORTS INJURY specialist and am in the first stages of a new drug yet again, and find that I need less narcotic but I can get a good 6ish hours sleep in, IN a recliner with pillows propping my arms and neck. But when I wake, I have to get the percocet or vicodin down to get started and if I take things slowly, the new drug helps but there isn't anymore big day cleanings!

      About the wits end. Try not to be agitated or be around anyone that makes you feel that way or provokes anxiety because 1. They are people who thrive on people who hurt physically. 2. It tenses your muscles and 3. They're not worth being in your life if they can do that to you. I've even severed very long term relationships and friendships and even a family member because they cause me pain I can no longer tolerate. Things like "why do you say you're in pain but today you put a shirt over your head". um, it's called a "paaaaaiin pillllll" if they don't get it, is it worth it. It's not to me because if a pain is going to be life long they can get it or get out... and it's not become I'm mean or callous person, but if I'm not am I supposed to hurt because they don't OR WON'T understand pain medication is a temporary fix?

      I wish you much luck and hope you are one of the lucky ones.

    • profile image

      Kimberly C 

      7 years ago

      I injured my right shoulder about 4 months ago by throwing a pear. Yes a pear...I used to play softball and I was walking out by our pear tree and thought I would show my daughter how far I could throw. BIG mistake! As soon as I let go, I felt and heard a pop in my right shoulder and immediately had the most intense pain of my life. My arm went limp and tingly and I could barely move it for about an hour. Then everytime I moved it a certain way, I would get the same intense pain again. I am 44 years old and have had some shoulder/neck issues with a repititous job, but this was like nothing I had ever experienced. Unfortunately, I was not working at the time and did not run to the doctor. I figured I just pulled something and I would self treat with ice and Ibuprofen. When I started working, I went to an orthopedist about a month ago and got a cortisone shot and am now in the process of physical therapy because I have developed a frozen shoulder. The physical therapy is helping with my range of motion, but the pain is still quite severe. I have an MRI scheduled in 2 days. I haven't slept through the night in 4 months. I wake no less than 3 or 4 times a night (even taking an over the counter sleep aid - tylenol p.m.) I have to get up and ice my shoulder just to make it numb enough to go back to sleep. I feel like I am about to lose my mind! New job (that is somewhat stressful) and no sleep is terribly frustrating. The doctor just gave me a prescription for Percocet 5/350. I took my first one tonight....I am up at 2 a.m. writing this. I woke up at 1 and could not get I just got up. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time? I know this is not good for me because I never get into the restful kind of sleep your body needs. I am currently taking 2 Aleve gel caps twice a day and Extra Strength Tylenol 3 to 4 times a now the Percocet. During the day the pain is bearable, mainly because I am busy and my work distracts me from it. But when I try to sleep or rest....the pain is all I can think about. The outside of my arm feels like it is on fire and there is a spot at the front of my shoulder about the size of an egg that just plain hurts and it tender to the touch. I sleep on my side and put pillow under my arm, it seems to help at first...then it just starts twinging and then turns into full blown pain and burning. No matter how I position myself, I cannot get it to stop. I am at my wits end....

    • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Lost in America

      lol I know I say I had a toddler! 2 babe's in one! NONE of his baby clothes fit at ALL! I had to return all of them for bigger clothes! AND diapers! There was no "newborn" diapers in our house! lol! Hey then some woman came along and STOLE MY GLORY, and had a 14lb babe! I was feeling sorry for her though! Youwwwza!

      Oh, if you know shoulder pain then you know it's a baddie!! Unfortunately mine went all the way across and after PTx3 no surgery can help, they said I have to learn to deal with it! So I'll never get to dive into a pool, in fact all swimming is on my back when I do get to go swimming (I live near Atlantic Beach) but yeah, the pain, not sure if I could compare it to a 10lb kid or not! LOL I tried to fix the top of a door the other day and it put me outta commission for the weekend! I can put my arms over my head, but not for long.. not like to change curtains! And it's summer! Luckily a friend came and changed them out, I helped, I held them LOL!!

      Yeah back pain, wow, let up already!!! I HATE pain meds, I seriously don't see how people get addicted, I'd toss mine down the flusher if I could get by without!!!

      I'm glad you got better!! I mean, it looks like you're Superwoman up there LOL so hopefully you can still fly like an eagle!! :)

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Owie! I hope your shoulder impingement is a thing of the past. Thank you for sharing your experience and VERY helpful tips. The ice instead of heat is a big one! I did this on my honeymoon diving into a pool. Aside from wrenching my back out it was the most painful thing EVAH (my child was only 7lb.7oz. so can't compare to a 10lber -- yikes, woman!!).

      Thanks again for a well written and very, very useful hub. MM

    • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Lost in America

      Hi Kurt, sorry for the delay in response! If you think you have an impingement then please go to the doctor and get started on physical therapy as soon as possible, trust me! Yes, it will show up on an MRI. MRI's ex-ray the soft tissue that a regular ex-ray does not show. With the MRI they found a tear in the thin skin-like tissue that surrounds the tendon. So please get it checked, because now the scar tissue keeps getting pinched, I'm with chronic pain all the time. And above all NO HEAT! I hope you feel better soon, and remember, the pillows will help. Also, once it happens, give yourself healing time or it'll keep coming back. Check out what JTrempe said above and look at the link! It is true, not all are the same. Best wishes!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hey, I am wondering if I've got an impigment in my shoulder.. IS it shown on MRI?

    • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Lost in America

      Hi, thank you for posting! Yes, I did a re-read :) and touched on the fact not all happen like mine did. I should have stressed more mine was an injury. I know constant repetition can cause it too. I'm really glad you posted because you've enlightened me to the reason that it has now been 4 years, and as I've been able to slack off of pain medication (thank goodness I don't have addictive personality) but I think I need the strengthening you mentioned. My left shoulder tends to come out of the joint easily, and the after pain is incredible! Not only the ice being important but the pillows. I wish the doctor had of mentioned it, but he didn't realize, maybe the PT didn't. But they were such a great help I thought of "inventing" ones shaped to change throughout the course. I still have to sleep with a lot of pillows, and still need (mostly) morning pain medication,(or some daily chores)but apparently the way mine happened isn't going away. We live, we learn, we deal! :) Thank you for your comment! I'll look into the link now!

    • JTrempe profile image


      9 years ago from CA, USA


      I am a physical therapist. Great article! I love the fact that you talked about how important ice and physical therapy is. One thing to note, not all causes of shoulder impingement is the same. Some people need to stretch because the shoulder gets tight. Other people get impingement because their shoulder is too loose and they need heavy strengthening in order to restore normal function.

      For more information on shoulder injuries you can visit:


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