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Understanding Shoulder Impingement Syndrome and the Role of Acupuncture in Its Treatment - Midtown, NYC

Updated: Jun 29

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common condition characterized by pain and restricted movement in the shoulder. It occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff and the subacromial bursa become compressed during shoulder movements, leading to inflammation and irritation. This syndrome can significantly affect daily activities and overall quality of life. In this blog, we will delve into the signs and symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome, the orthopedic tests used for diagnosis, and how acupuncture can effectively treat this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder impingement syndrome typically presents with a range of signs and symptoms, which may vary in severity. Common indicators include:

1. Pain: Persistent pain in the shoulder, particularly when lifting the arm overhead, reaching behind the back, or lying on the affected side.

2. Weakness: A noticeable decrease in shoulder strength, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

3. Restricted Movement: Limited range of motion in the shoulder joint, often accompanied by a sensation of stiffness.

4. Tenderness: Sensitivity or tenderness in the front of the shoulder or around the acromion (the bony prominence on top of the shoulder).

5. Swelling: Mild swelling or a feeling of warmth around the shoulder joint.

Orthopedic Tests for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Several orthopedic tests can help diagnose shoulder impingement syndrome. These tests are designed to reproduce the symptoms of impingement and assess the extent of the condition:

1. Neer Test: The examiner passively flexes the patient’s arm while stabilizing the scapula. Pain during this movement indicates a positive test.

2. Hawkins-Kennedy Test: The examiner flexes the patient’s shoulder and elbow to 90 degrees, then internally rotates the arm. Pain during this maneuver suggests impingement.

3. Empty Can Test: The patient abducts their arms to 90 degrees and internally rotates them (thumbs pointing down), then resists downward pressure applied by the examiner. Pain or weakness indicates a positive test.

4. Painful Arc Test: The patient actively abducts the arm. Pain occurring between 60 and 120 degrees of abduction is considered a positive sign of impingement.

How Acupuncture Helps Treat Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate healing and alleviate pain. It has been increasingly recognized for its effectiveness in treating musculoskeletal conditions, including shoulder impingement syndrome. Here's how acupuncture can help:

1. Pain Relief: Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. This can significantly reduce pain and discomfort in the shoulder.

2. Reduction of Inflammation: By promoting blood circulation and reducing stagnation, acupuncture helps decrease inflammation and swelling in the affected area.

3. Improvement in Range of Motion: Regular acupuncture sessions can enhance mobility by loosening tight muscles and tendons, allowing for a greater range of motion in the shoulder.

4. Muscle Relaxation: Acupuncture targets specific points to relax tense muscles, which can alleviate pressure on the impinged tendons and bursa.

5. Holistic Approach: Acupuncture addresses the root cause of the condition by balancing the body’s energy (Qi) and improving overall health, which can contribute to long-term relief and prevention of recurrence.

Acupuncture Treatment for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome in Midtown Manhattan, What to Expect:

Initial Consultation and Assessment: The first step in acupuncture treatment involves a thorough assessment by our licensed acupuncturist, Jeffrey Medina.  During this consultation, he will review the patient’s medical history, conduct a physical examination, and discuss the symptoms and their impact on daily life.

Personalized Treatment Plan: Based on the assessment, our acupuncturist will develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan typically includes a series of acupuncture sessions, dietary recommendations, and lifestyle modifications to support healing and recovery.

Acupuncture Sessions: During the acupuncture sessions, Jeffrey Medina will treat specific muscles related to the dysfunctional shoulder.  The needles are usually left in place for 20 to 30 minutes, during which time the patient can relax and experience the therapeutic effects.

Complementary Therapies: In addition to acupuncture, our clinic in Midtown Manhattan offers additional therapies such as manual therapy and ATP Resonance Biotherapy® These therapies enhance the benefits of acupuncture and speed up the healing


Follow-Up and Patient Progression: Follow-up sessions are crucial to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. Maintenance treatments may be recommended to prevent recurrence and maintain shoulder health.

Finding an Acupuncturist in Midtown Manhattan

When seeking acupuncture treatment in Midtown Manhattan, it is important to choose a licensed and experienced practitioner like our provider Jeffrey Medina. He is licensed by the New York State of Education Department and is Board Certified by the

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He has been in practice for 18 years and has treated many cases of shoulder impingement syndrome. Schedule a consultation to discuss your condition and treatment options.


Shoulder impingement syndrome can be a debilitating condition, but with the right treatment approach, including acupuncture, patients can experience significant relief and improved function. Acupuncture not only alleviates pain and inflammation but also promotes overall well-being, making it an excellent option for those suffering from shoulder impingement syndrome. If you’re in Midtown Manhattan and seeking effective, holistic treatment, consider exploring the benefits of acupuncture for your shoulder health. To schedule your consultation please call 917-243-4947.


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