Friday, 29 September 2023
Muscle Aches

Shoulder Bursitis – Causes, Symptoms, and How to get rid of it

Shoulder bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, or the fluid-filled sac in one or both your shoulders. The condition begins with niggling pain and slight stiffness and left untreated, can worsen to a “frozen shoulder.” Learn about this condition, its causes, symptoms, and ways to treat it, so that you can take good and timely care of yourself.


The How’s and Whys of Bursitis in Shoulder

The bursa may get inflamed due to many reasons:

  • An injury
  • An underlying rheumatic condition
  • Stress from an apparently innocuous activity like lifting a basketful of laundry from the floor or stretching to reach something that is high up
  • Infection, but this is very rare for the shoulders
  • Sports that involve a lot of overhead arm movements
  • Work that involves a lot of repetitive lifting movements or performing overhead activities

I have seen many young athletes, swimmers, baseball and tennis players, painters, and construction workers become affected with this problem.


Shoulder bursitis Symptoms

Bursitis of the shoulder is typically associated with severe pain in the affected shoulder area. These can occur both when moving the shoulder and when resting it, such as sleeping at night.

As a result of the pain, the mobility of the shoulder is sometimes become limited, so that the affected person can barely lift his/ her arm properly.

In addition, there are often symptoms such as swelling, redness, and overheating and pressure tenderness of the skin, which is above an inflamed bursa; also fever is possible.

In acute bursitis of the shoulder, these symptoms usually occur suddenly, i.e. within a few hours or days. In contrast, chronic bursitis in the shoulder causes these symptoms over a period of several weeks and months and gets worse over time.

Briefly, recognize Shoulder Bursitis the symptoms begin mild like:

  • Slight pain when resting or working
  • A pain that starts from the front of the shoulder and spreads to the side of the arm
  • Swelling and stiffness in the shoulder
  • Sharp and sudden pangs of pain when you try to lift or reach up to something.

The problem with most of my patients is that they neglect their aches and pains until they become unbearable.

Bursitis in the shoulder, in severe cases, can lead to loss of motion and then, a “frozen shoulder.” So if you ask me, I will say, “Rush to your doctor or call your physical therapist if you have a shoulder pain, however slight, that keeps coming back.”


How to Get Rid of Shoulder Bursitis

Get Rid of Shoulder Bursitis Nothing cures like rest. So if you have this bursitis in shoulder, take care that you do not do anything that causes pains. These are the strict no-no’s:

  • Stretching to reach objects higher up
  • Reaching behind yourself
  • Lifting heavy things
  • Straining your shoulders with any other activity


I would recommend the good old ice pack therapy too. This will lessen the pain, reduce the swelling, and increase the flow of blood to the injured shoulder area. What is more, this can be done at home.

But do keep in mind that results may take weeks or months to show up. So be patient and carry on with the treatment.

A little more serious cases of this condition need non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medicines like Advil, Motrin, Celebrex, or Aleve. Your doctor will determine the actual dosage for you. Even if you are taking medicines, I will advise you to carry on with your rest and ice pack routine.

Cortisone shots to the affected area are the next step when oral medication fails.

Surgery is the last resort of this type of bursitis. The most common surgical treatment is anterior acromioplasty or subacromial decompression.

Physical Therapy to Cure Shoulder Bursitis If your case of shoulder pain is not too severe and does not require injections or surgery, and then I will recommend a physical therapy routine to you. At my clinic, I guide my patients through some simple and gentle stretching exercises with the shoulders and arms. These do not strain the shoulders and help to bring back the flexibility. You can carry on with these exercises even after you get better, for they will help you remain fit.

There is nothing to fret about shoulder bursitis. If you are careful about the signs and follow your treatment routine sincerely, you will be cured in no time at all.

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