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Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

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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
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