Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Select An Article

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Font Size

How Is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome Treated? continued...

In addition to taking medications, daily stretching in a warm shower will help. You should work to reach your thumb up and behind your back. Avoid repetitive activities with your injured arm, particularly activities where the elbow would move above shoulder level. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who can demonstrate the exercises most effective in strengthening and stretching the shoulder muscles.

If you have persistent symptoms, despite the use of oral anti-inflammatory drugs, your doctor may consider a cortisone-type injection. Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory medication, which should be used only when necessary because it can result in weakening of muscles and tendons if used repeatedly.

If symptoms persist or if significant weakness is present, then your doctor may perform an ultrasound, MRI, or arthrogram to rule out a rotator cuff tear. If the cuff is torn, surgery may be necessary to repair it.

The vast majority of people who have impingement syndrome are successfully treated with medication, stretching exercises, and temporary avoidance of repetitive overhead activity until the condition settles down.

What Are the Side Effects of Impingement Syndrome Treatment?

Upset stomach, indigestion, and headaches are the most common side effects of oral anti-inflammatory drugs. However, taking these medications after meals or with food can help reduce stomach upset. Anti-inflammatory drugs can also cause vomiting, constipation, and bleeding in the stomach (ulcers), although these side effects are not common.

Side effects of cortisone shots depend on the dose and frequency of the injections. Unlike cortisone pills, occasional cortisone injections rarely cause serious side effects. Side effects that are much more common with cortisone pills include elevated blood sugar, a decrease in the body's resistance to infection, weight gain, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), thinning of the skin, cataracts, and raised blood pressure.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on October 18, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

elderly hands
Even with arthritis pain.
woman exercising
Here are 7 easy tips.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
chronic pain
Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
Keep Joints Healthy
Chronic Pain Healthcheck
close up of man with gut
man knee support
woman with cold compress
Man doing tai chi
hand gripping green rubber ball
person walking with assistance