Hi Dr. Molly
I have a question about my shoulder. I lift weights a few times a week. Recently, I haven’t been able to lift my right shoulder as high as my left shoulder. I wouldn’t say it hurts but it doesn’t feel normal. Google tells me I have a shoulder impingement. Will this heal on its own? I don't remember doing anything to hurt my shoulder, I just don’t want it to get worse.
Good Morning Pat,
Thank you so much for reaching out to me.
So many people ask if shoulder impingements heal on their own. Unfortunately, shoulder impingements do not “heal” the same way your skin would from a paper cut. The discomfort or the “it just doesn’t feel right” sensation comes from a tendon in your shoulder being pinched when you lift your arm over your head.
The arm bone has several muscles that attach to it holding it in a shallow joint. For normal pain free shoulder motion these muscles have to pull in a specific order for each different direction the arm moves.
Good News: Our bodies easily adapt to changes that cause one of these muscles to become stretched or weak by having different muscles take over for the “weak/ stretched muscle” to allow your arm to do what you want.
Bad News: Over time these adaptations for “weak/ stretched” muscles cause uneven wear and tear (arthritis) or shoulder impingements. Left uncorrected shoulder impingements lead to rotator cuff tears and possibly requiring surgery.
This is why I'm so happy you reached out to me. Shoulder impingements may not “heal” but they can be corrected with physical therapy.
A physical therapist will assess how your shoulder joint moves by itself and in relation to the rest of your body to determine the root cause of your shoulder impingement. Seeing and feeling how your shoulder joint moves allows a physical therapist to create a specialized treatment plan for you to help you get back to YOUR workouts without worrying the problem will just come back over and over again.
I hope this answers your question.
To your health,
If you are suffering with a shoulder impingement that is limiting your favorite workouts or activities and this is the type outcome you are looking for click this link to set up a phone call with a PT.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald