The shoulder is subject to different irritations, injuries, and conditions. Shoulder impingement is a common ailment but is often confused with other shoulder problems. Properly treating impingement syndrome needs proper diagnosis first. Most shoulder impingement cases do not require surgery. Conservative treatment, like chiropractic, focuses on pain reduction while increasing the range of motion. This is achieved with manual manipulation, soft tissue therapy, cold laser therapy, and spinal adjustments for shoulder posture realignment.

Shoulder Impingement Symptoms

Shoulder impingement often gets confused with a pinched nerve or a rotator cuff tear. The symptoms can be similar, but the treatment options differ. This is why it’s important to know the specific shoulder issue presenting. This can be done by recognizing the symptoms and performing a shoulder impingement self-exam. Symptoms include:

  • Pain when lifting the arm straight out.
  • Pain when lifting the arm overhead.
  • Pain along the outside of the shoulder, the front, back, or side.
  • Dull throbbing pain.
  • Trouble sleeping, specifically individuals that sleep with their arm over their head.
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Chiropractic Shoulder Impingement Mobility Treatment

Shoulder Impingement Self Exams

There are self-exams at home to help determine if it is shoulder impingement. These exams are for a better idea, but a professional chiropractic diagnosis is recommended.

Exam 1

  • Take the hand of the affected arm and place it on the opposite shoulder, creating a V shape at the elbow.
  • Keeping the hand on the opposite shoulder, raise the elbow straight out in front, bringing it up toward the face.
  • If pain is present in the shoulder while moving the elbow up, then shoulder impingement could be possible.

Exam 2

  • Stand up with hands down at the sides.
  • Turn the hand of the affected shoulder inward so the thumb faces back instead of forward.
  • Keep the thumb pointing backward, and raise the arm straight up in front and over the head.
  • Note if there is any discomfort or pain.
  • Bring the hand back down to the side.
  • Next, turn the hand so that the palm is facing forward.
  • Again, raise the arm in an arc, ending above the head.
  • If pain presents while raising the arm with the thumb back but feeling relief with the palm facing forward, it is likely a shoulder impingement.
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Chiropractic Shoulder Impingement Mobility Treatment

Chiropractic Relief

If there is some impingement, different treatment options exist. Many doctors treat shoulder impingement with injections and pain management. Studies show that conservative treatments, like chiropractic, have shown positive results for shoulder impingement cases.

Chiropractic improves joint function and mobility while treating the underlying root cause. A chiropractor will use a multi-approach depending on the cause. A combination of adjustments, anti-inflammatory protocols, and active-release techniques can be used.

Chiropractic Adjustment

One of the first things chiropractors look at is the spine. This is because poor posture, and slumping shoulders, can be a major contributors to impingement. Chiropractors perform a posture assessment and, if necessary, a spinal adjustment to achieve proper alignment is the beginning of getting the body back in balance.

Anti-Inflammation Protocols

Next is the shoulder itself. Deep tissue massage and anti-inflammation techniques like cold laser therapy or ultrasound can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Once the pain has decreased, the chiropractor will move on to active release techniques.

Active Release Technique

Usually, the muscles or tendons become inflamed and irritated; the active release technique is used to separate scar tissue from the soft tissue. The active release technique is performed with a combination of movement and manipulation. This increases healing through proper blood flow and circulation.

Healing Naturally

Here is an example of a potential treatment plan. All treatment plans are different depending on the following:

  • Individual Health
  • Activity level
  • Medical history
  • Age
  • Injury

Rest and Pain Reduction

  • The first step in healing is rest. Individuals will be recommended to cease overhead arm activity and any activity that causes shoulder inflammation.
  • Pain reduction treatment. This could be:
  1. Ultrasound
  2. Laser therapy
  3. Massage
  4. Other forms of pain relief and inflammation reduction


  • Chiropractic adjustments performed on the upper cervical spine, upper back, and shoulder area will address the overall cause.
  • Posture assessments will determine if the spine needs adjusting and if it is a cause of the impingement.

Stretching Exercises

Rehab Protocol

The stretches and exercises are an essential part of the healing process. The specific exercises will depend on the individual’s specific treatment plan but are made to be gentle on the body without any special equipment. Call our chiropractic and physical therapy clinic to talk to a trained professional if you have any questions.

Body Composition

Strength Training

Strength training is a technique/method of improving the body’s muscular strength. This is achieved by gradually increasing the resistance force through free weights, machines, or body weight. This means the body gets stronger and more capable of performing regular work and sports activities without experiencing weakness, fatigue, discomfort, and pain. Examples could include:

  • Carrying groceries or children
  • Moving furniture, household objects, etc.
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Other physical activities

Strength training has numerous benefits, including:

  • Increased physical performance
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Improved metabolism
  • Reduced fat mass
  • Increased bone strength/density
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Prevention and management of type 2 diabetes
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Reduction of pain associated with chronic conditions

Garving, Christina, et al. “Impingement Syndrome of the Shoulder.” Deutsches Arzteblatt international vol. 114,45 (2017): 765-776. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2017.0765

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The information herein on "Chiropractic Shoulder Impingement Mobility Treatment" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez
Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, functional strength training, functional medicine, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries. We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training and Cross-Fit Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. As an extension to dynamic rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities' premier doctors, therapist and trainers in order to provide high-level competitive athletes the options to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities. We've been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last 3 decades allowing us to restore our patients' health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs. Our programs are natural and use the body's ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, un-wanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living. With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age, ability or disability.