Shoulder Impingement

Is your shoulder pain caused by impingement syndrome? Read more to find out and learn how physiotherapy can help.


Designed for mobility rather than stability, the shoulder joint is prone to pain. One of the most common conditions of the shoulder is impingement syndrome. Shoulder impingement syndrome is the result of the compression of the soft tissue structures by the bony structures of the shoulder. This compression usually involves the rotator cuff tendons and/or the bursa, the fluid filled sacs within the joint. Therefore, impingement syndrome is often seen in combination with rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis.


While the exact cause of the condition is not known, generally shoulder impingement is associated with repetitive overhead movements. For this reason, impingement syndrome is common in those whose sports (e.g. swimming) or jobs (e.g. painting) require overhead movements. Because impingement syndrome is an overuse condition, it usually comes on slowly over time, worsening with increased use. Most frequently the pain is felt in the front of the shoulder joint, possibly radiating down the upper arm. Overhead movements, backwards reaching or lying on the affected side triggers the pain, which is often described as “sharp” with a “catching” sensation when lifting the arm.


What can you do at home?

  1. Prone Ys: Lie face down with your arms up and at a 45-degree angle and thumbs pointed up towards the ceiling. Slowly lift your arms upward, squeezing your shoulder blades down and together. Repeat for 10 reps and 3 sets.


  1. Pizza Carry: With your back against the wall, bend both elbows to 90-degrees with your palms up. Rotate your arms outward as far as you can while keeping your elbows tucked into your side. You should feel your shoulder blades squeeze down and together. Hold for 5 seconds, for 10 reps and 3 sets.

Why should you see a physiotherapist?

The first thing I can do for you is determine if your shoulder pain is, in fact, caused by impingement syndrome. I will do this by taking a thorough history of your shoulder pain, and then examining your shoulder movements and strength, as well as performing additional tests. Should I confirm a diagnosis of impingement syndrome, I will create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your exact symptoms. The treatment plan will likely including stretches and strengthening exercises to help restore full, pain-free shoulder movement. Additionally, I will use manual therapy techniques and modalities during treatment sessions to further promote the return of pain-free shoulder functioning.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain and want relief book an initial physiotherapy assessment at The Massage Clinic Health Centres today


Alyson Schwichtenburg

Registered Physiotherapist



What is Plantar Fasciitis? What can a Physiotherapist do for Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue that supports the inside arch of the foot, and is important for weight bearing. Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions we physiotherapists see. Originally thought of as an inflammatory condition, new research suggests plantar fasciitis is actually a degenerative condition. This new way of classifying the condition has altered how plantar fasciitis is treated.


Plantar fasciitis is common in runners or those who stand for long periods of time for work. Other factors that can make you more susceptible to plantar fasciitis include: incorrect knee, ankle and/or foot alignment; calf tightness or weakness; weight gain; fast increase in training, and/or inadequate footwear.


Sharp heel pain is the most common symptom of plantar fasciitis. This heel pain is often worse when walking first thing in the morning or after prolonged rest. The pain can also occur while standing, walking or running, forcing you to stop activity.


What can you do at home?

  1. Lunging Calf Stretch: Step your non-painful foot forward, bend your front leg forward, keep your back leg straight and your heel on the ground. You can lean forward and place your hands on a wall in front of you for balance if necessary. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, relax, and repeat 3 times.
  2. Plantar Fascia Stretch: Sit upright with your leg crossed so that your painful foot is resting on your other knee. Keep your foot relaxed, use your hand to pull your foot and toes up towards your shin. Massage the bottom of your foot and heel while holding the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat 3 times.


Why should you see a physiotherapist?

You may choose to see a physiotherapist if your heel pain restricts your work, physical activities or everyday life. I will perform a thorough assessment of your heel pain, and create a more comprehensive treatment plan. This personalized treatment plan will help prevent disruption to the healing process, quickening in your recovery. The treatment plan may include a set of home physiotherapy exercises, the use of electrophysical agents, myofascial release, education for activity modification, and/or recommendations for orthotic devices.

If you are experiencing foot or heel pain, book an initial physiotherapy assessment at The Massage Clinic Health Centres today.

Alyson Schwichtenberg

Registered Physiotherapist 


Physiotherapy Acupuncture FAQ

Physiotherapy Acupuncture FAQ

Physiotherapy, Acupuncture

Would I benefit from acupuncture?

Currently, there is good scientific evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for the following conditions: lower back pain, elbow pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, and chronic pain. Research is ongoing for many other conditions, though the results are promising for pains in the hip, foot, and shoulder. 


What is the science behind acupuncture?

The science behind acupuncture is complicated and, frankly, not well understood. Simply put, acupuncture provokes multiple biological responses, both locally (at the site of insertion) and systemically (in the whole body). One such biological response is the release of endogenous opioids (opioid peptides) that induce pain relief. 


Do you incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine into your acupuncture practice? 

Yes, my acupuncture training included elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In addition to the Theory of Ying and Yang, the Theory of Qi, and the Theory of Five Elements, my training emphasized the use of the Theory of the Channels and Collaterals (Meridians). This theory forms the basis for acupuncture, and can influence which points I select for treatment. 


What should I feel during an acupuncture treatment?

Contrary to popular belief, acupuncture is not meant to hurt. Though you may feel some mild pain, most people report minimal sensation upon insertion. Once a needle is fully inserted, you may feel a mild, dull ache or a light tingling sensation. Some also report feeling a general heaviness in the treatment area. 

How many acupuncture treatment sessions do I need?

While the results vary from person to person, one systematic review found that six or more treatment sessions were required for significant improvements. Treatments were typically performed two to three times per week, and lasted fifteen minutes. 


Are you a Registered Acupuncturist / Can you bill the treatment as acupuncture?

No, I am not a Registered Acupuncturist, and cannot bill as such. I am a Registered Physiotherapist with additional training in acupuncture, which allows me to perform acupuncture as part of a physiotherapy treatment session. Therefore, all treatments, even those that include acupuncture, will be billed as physiotherapy. 


How do you choose the acupuncture points?

There are not set rules as to how many needles to use for each condition, or exactly which points to use. Generally, a combination of points local to the injury/pain and distal to the affected area is used. Local points are good for activating the release of neurotransmitters, while distal points help when pain is too acute to allow local points. Following an initial assessment, I will determine which combination of points would work best for you. 


If you believe you may benefit from physiotherapy with the use of acupuncture, book an initial physiotherapy assessment at The Massage Clinic Health Centres today. 

Alyson Schwichtenberg

Registered Physiotherapist