Understanding Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is a common orthopedic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder become compressed or irritated, leading to pain and discomfort. This condition can significantly impact a person's daily life, making it essential to understand its causes, symptoms, and acupuncture is one of the treatment option.

Causes of Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement typically develops gradually, often due to repetitive overhead activities or poor shoulder mechanics. Some common causes include:

Overuse: Activities such as painting, swimming, weightlifting, or playing tennis can lead to overuse of the shoulder joint, causing wear and tear on the tendons over time.

Anatomical Factors: Certain individuals may have structural abnormalities, such as a hooked acromion (a bone at the top of the shoulder blade), which increases the risk of impingement.

Muscle Weakness or Imbalance: Weakness or imbalance in the muscles supporting the shoulder can affect its stability, leading to impingement.

Age: As people age, the tendons in the shoulder can naturally degenerate, making them more susceptible to impingement.

Previous Injuries: Prior shoulder injuries or trauma can contribute to the development of impingement.


Shoulder impingement often presents with the following symptoms:

Pain: Persistent, aching pain in the front or side of the shoulder, particularly when lifting the arm overhead or reaching behind the back.

Weakness: Weakened shoulder muscles, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks.

Limited Range of Motion: Difficulty moving the shoulder through its full range of motion, especially when raising the arm.

Pain at Night: Discomfort may worsen at night, affecting sleep quality.

Grinding Sensation: Some individuals may experience a grinding or popping sensation when moving their shoulder.


If you suspect shoulder impingement, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor may perform a physical examination, review your medical history, and order imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans to assess the condition of the shoulder joint and surrounding tissues.

Acupuncture is effective to reduce shoulder pain and restore shoulder movement.

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