If you think you may have shoulder impingement syndrome, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who will perform tests to help identify the location of the impingement and the best treatment plan that suits you.
In this article, we will tackle what is shoulder impingement and what are the different types of shoulder impingement tests.
What is Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder impingement is a painful condition that happens when the tendons and soft tissues around the shoulders become trapped between the top of your upper arm and the acromion (a bony projection that extends upwards from the scapula or your shoulder blade). When soft tissues are strained, they can become sore or even tore, causing discomfort and restricting the ability to lift your arm properly.
Diagnostic Imaging Techniques
A thorough physical exam should be done to determine which tendons and muscles are irritated. Your doctor may use X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasound tests to clarify and confirm the results of your physical examinations.
Studies show that these imaging tests are highly effective at identifying the exact location of an injury. If there are tears or lesions in the rotator cuff, imaging tests can show the degree of the injury and help your doctor determine whether a repair is needed to restore your mobility and abilities.
The Most Common Types of Impingement Tests
Neer Test or Neer Sign
In the Neer test, your physical therapist is standing behind you, pulling down on the top of your back. Then they rotate your arm upward to your shoulders and lift your arm as high as it reaches.
During this test, you are seated while your physical therapist is standing right beside you. He/she will be flexing your elbow to a 90-degree angle and bringing it to the shoulder mark. Their arm serves as a brace beneath your forearm while they press down your wrist to rotate your back.
Coracoid Impingement Test
The test will work like this: The physical therapist stands behind you, lifting your arm to the shoulder level with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. Assisting your elbow, they press your wrist softly.
During these assessments, your physical therapist will ask you to move your arms in all directions to check for trigger points and mobility problems.
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