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Shoulder Impingement in the CrossFit Athlete


The shoulder is a very complex joint. Many CrossFit workouts involve some type of shoulder movement. So if you are an avid CrossFit athlete you better be sure that your shoulders are performing optimally if you want to perform at your best and prevent injury.

Shoulder health and performance is dependent on a few things:

  • thoracic spine mobility

  • scapular stability

  • cervical spine stability

  • proper glenohumeral joint mechanics

CrossFit relies heavily on overhead movements such as the snatch, thrusters, clean and jerk and overhead press to name a few. These repetitive overhead movements can cause strain and dysfunction in the shoulder joint, mainly the supraspinatus muscle. As the movement moves overhead the humerus can "jam" into the acromion causing irritation to supraspinatus. This is why proper upward rotation, retraction and depression of the scapula, as well as, thoracic extension are VITAL to a healthy overhead position.

Signs and symptoms of shoulder impingement include:

  • anterior/lateral shoulder pain

  • pain with overhead movements

  • pain upon pushing, pulling or pressing

  • pain while reaching for you seat belt or reaching in the back seat

  • pain while sleeping on the injured shoulder

If left undiagnosed or untreated, supraspinatus impingement can lead to a supraspinatus tear (rotator cuff tear) or further muscle imbalances and damage.

Supraspinatus impingement can be treated in a chiropractic office with manual or instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation, joint manipulation and functional rehabilitation.

If you are a CrossFit athlete and have been suffering from shoulder pain, give our office a call and see how we can help you!


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