Shoulder Impingement


Your Family Doctor

Start by seeing your family doctor (GP). Your doctor can help you by:

  • Diagnosis. Diagnosing your condition is often done by listening to your problems and a careful examination of your shoulder.
  • Investigations. You doctor may order tests that are needed
  • Rest and activites. Treatment involves resting the shoulder and avoiding activities that cause pain.
  • Simple measures. Ice packs applied to the shoulder and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will help reduce inflammation and pain. Use ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain goes away.
  • Medications. Anti-inflammatory medicine or other pain medicines can be very helpufl.
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medicines can cause stomach bleeding, kidney problems, and other problems. Take the medicine as directed. Read and follow all label directions.
  • Injections. An injection of a corticosteroid medicine into the bursa can reduce the inflammation and pain.
  • Referrals. Your doctor can refer you to physiotherapists and if necessary, an orthopaedic surgeon.


Physiotherapy is an essential part of the treatment of shoulder impingement. Your physiotherapist will help you strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff, advise you movements to avoid and help you regain your flexibility.

If the pain persists or if movement is not possible because of severe pain, a steroid injection may reduce pain and inflammation enough to allow effective physiotherapy.


Most people recover full function after a combination of medications, physiotherapy, and steroid injections.

If your shoulder impingement is not relieved by these measures, then surgery may be a good option.

An orthopaedic surgeon can perform a procedure called a "shoulder decompression". This can be done via open surgery or arthroscopic key hole surgery.

26 February, 2012