Subacromial impingement syndrome, more known as SAIS, is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain and functional restrictions. When tendons of the rotator cuff, head of the biceps brachii, and the subacromial bursa are pinched/ impinged during movement activities, pain and reduced motion and function in respective areas is caused.
Did you know that the shoulder is made up of four different joints? Many people tend to believe the shoulder consists of only one joint, but instead, four which all work in sync to complete complex movements. These joints are: the ball and socket (glenohumeral joint (GHJ), the acromio-clavicular joint (ACJ), the sterno-clavicular joint (SCJ), and the scapulothoracic joint (STJ).
A 2020 study looked at the collective and independent movement of the joints in two groups: SAIS patients and individuals with no history of shoulder pain. The SAIS patients demonstrated less SCJ posterior rotation, regardless of angle, phase, or plane of shoulder motion. There seemed to be less STJ motion observed at 30 degrees and 60 degrees of humerothoracic elevation. The study concluded that treatment methods must focus on restoring lost motion at the SCJ, ACJ, STJ, and GHJ.
Doctors of chiropractic will use manual therapies and shoulder exercises to manage SAIS. A study looked at patients with chronic shoulder pain, and split them into three groups: one group received manual therapy, and the other recieved shoulder exercises. The third group received both. Both groups showed great outcomes with less pain. Those who received both showed eveen greater outcomes and improvements in function and pain.
Doctors of chiropractic will not only focus on the shoulder, but will evaluate the entire body to ensure that there are no problems elsewhere in the body that could be the root cause of the pain. Over 35 percent of SAIS patients had nerve root compression on the same side as the affected shoulder. This goes to show that there is a possibility the pain could be caused by something else, or adding on to the existing pain.