Shoulder & Arm By Sophie Xie / October 11, 2016 Simple self-test to find out if your shoulder is impinged Is the top level of the bookshelf off-limit to you due to your shoulder pain? Do you have trouble reaching for a jar of peanut butter?You probably heard about shoulder impingement syndrome and wondered if that's the reason for your shoulder problem as well. In this post, I am going to help you figure out the likelihood that you are suffering from the most common shoulder impingement condition: the impingement of the supraspinatus muscle tendon.Step one: Consider your shoulder pain patternDoes this sound like your shoulder pain?No pain when shoulder is at restOnset of pain and weakness when reaching up, reaching to the side or reaching behind the backPain is felt on the top of the shoulder, rather sharpPainful shoulder cannot be fully lifting to overhead due to motion restrictionSymptoms worsened over timeSleeping on it may make it worseStep two: Consider your lifestyleDoes this sound like your lifestyle?Your job or daily activities require you to perform frequent reaching and lifting (job such as painter, gardener, chef, electrician, construction worker, sports players perform a lot of reaching and lifting)Deteriorating posture over time: Rounded shoulders, forward chin, humped back, shrugged shoulders Step three: The testThis test will help you to identify if you are suffering from impingement of the supraspinatus muscle. Sit on a stool with a good postureFirst, lift your painful shoulder up by reaching overhead as far as possible. Notice the amount of movement and intensity of the pain you have during the movement.Next, use your hand on the painful side to grab on to the sitting surface of the stool. Lean your body and head away from the painful side until you feel a pulling/tugging/traction throughout the entire neck and arm on the painful side. This pulling/tugging/traction should not cause any pain or numbness in the shoulder or arm. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and repeat about 5 times with a few seconds of resting in between. Then return your body to neutral.Right after all the traction and pulling are done, raise your painful arm again all the way overhead. If your pain or range of motion has improved in any degree, you are likely to suffer from shoulder impingement syndrome.This test creates a downward pull to temporarily distract the shoulder girdle away from the impingement site. If you experience significant improvement in pain and range at the end of the test, you have a good chance to recover fully from shoulder impingement with proper stretching and shoulder exercises.On the other hand, chronic and worsening impingement syndrome of the supraspinatus muscle without proper treatment may result in calcification of the muscle tissue. This crucial member of your rotator cuff may result in muscle tear that requires surgery and lengthy post-surgical rehabilitation process to return to normal. Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.Recommended readings:5 amazingly effective exercises for shoulder impingement syndromeWhat tissue are you hurting when you have shoulder impingement syndrome?Neck and shoulder pain? 3 clinically proven stretches for pain reliefCarpal tunnel syndrome? 3 foolproof tests to find causes of hand numbnessLike what you just read? Share this post via our social media buttons! They are everywhere on this page!Want to know more about treating your own pain with techniques from a physical therapist? Please subscribe to our newsletter!