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Bursitis of the Shoulder Natural Treatments and Rehabilitation

September 7, 2022
Bursitis of the Shoulder Natural Treatments and Rehabilitation Main-min
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Inside each of your shoulders is a tiny, fluid-filled sac called a bursa. The bursae help reduce friction between the bones in your joints.

If the shoulder bursa has become inflamed, it leads to a condition known as shoulder bursitis. Most common causes may include injury, overuse, or medical conditions that cause joint inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Shoulder bursitis, also known as “subacromial bursitis,” can be treated in various ways, both at home and in a doctor’s office.


What is Shoulder Bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis is the result of an inflamed bursa. The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the space between three bones and the connective tissue, allowing them to move together.

The subacromial bursae cushion the area between the rotator cuff tendons and the acromion (the highest point of the shoulder blade). The bursae allow the tendons and bones to glide without friction when moving and lifting the arms.

Injuries or overuse can result in fluid accumulation in bursae. Painful swelling may occur gradually or suddenly.


Causes and Risk Factors


The most common cause of bursitis is repetitive motion or overuse. Other causes include:

  • Physical injury, such as a car crash or fall.
  • Hobbies that put repetitive stress on the shoulder for long periods, such as baseball, tennis, knitting, and weight training.
  • People with manual jobs, including athletes, painters, and musicians.
  • Other health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and gout.


Symptoms of Bursitis Shoulder Pain

Shoulder bursitis may cause symptoms including a limited range of movement in the shoulder and extreme pain at the tip of the shoulder.

Key signs of shoulder bursitis are the following:

  • pain and inflammation around the outside or tip of the shoulder
  • pain when the shoulder is touched
  • limited range of motion in the shoulder joint
  • inflammation and redness in the affected area
  • pain when raising the arm, such as reaching shelves or washing hair

The pain may become worse during nighttime, especially when lying on the affected shoulder. It may also worsen after the shoulder has been kept still for a while.

Shoulder bursitis most commonly occurs in the subacromial bursa. This is a large bursa at the tip of the shoulder. It helps with the smooth movement of the arm when lifted above the head.

If the above signs are coupled with a fever, the shoulder bursa may be infected. This is called septic bursitis, and a doctor should investigate the situation.



At-home Treatments for Shoulder Bursitis

Because bursitis is often a result of inflammation, giving your shoulder ample time to rest can often help minimize symptoms.

Examples of some of the at-home treatment options that can help reduce the symptoms are the following:

Rest the Shoulder

Avoiding activities that tend to aggravate symptoms can help to minimize them. Often, this is an activity in an occupation or a frequent pastime.

Take an Over-the-counter Pain Reliever

Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief. They are an especially helpful treatment in reducing inflammation. These include:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve)

Apply an Ice Pack

Have a protective covering between the ice and your skin. Apply a cold compress to the injured area for only 10-15 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Wear a Shoulder Brace

A shoulder brace can help you rest, support your arm, and help you avoid doing too much. Shoulder braces are available at most drugstores, although you may need a physician/doctor to show you how to wear them correctly.

Perform Gentle Stretching and Strengthening Activities

Do shoulder bursitis exercises but do not stretch to the point of extreme joint pain or discomfort.

Bursitis of the Shoulder Natural Treatments and Rehabilitation


Bursitis of the Shoulder Exercises

These exercises can be performed 2 to 3 times a day to stretch your shoulder muscles, which may help to minimize muscle tension.

Posterior Stretch

  • While sitting or standing, bring your arm across your body, placing your hand at the back of the opposite shoulder.
  • Using your other hand, press on the back of the elbow to deepen the stretch. Feel the stretch across the back of your shoulder.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times a day.
  • Stretch on the opposite side.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

  • Stand/sit with your arms at your sides.
  • Pull your shoulder back, making your shoulder blades touch.
  • Keep your shoulders down while performing the exercise to feel a greater stretch on the front.
  • Hold this pose for at least 6 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise between 6 and 8 times.

Shoulder Blade Range of Motion

  • Lift your shoulders as if you are shrugging them. Hold the position for 5 seconds then lower the shoulders.
  • Move your shoulders downward. Feel a stretch across the top of your shoulders. Hold this position for at least 5 seconds.
  • Rotate your shoulders in a circular motion backward 5 times. Stop and repeat by rotating the shoulders forward.


Recovery time

When a physical injury causes bursitis of the shoulder, it can be treated within a few days. The healing time is longer if bursitis is caused by joint overuse. It may take several weeks or more to heal, especially if the shoulder joint is still being used.

The healing process of shoulder bursitis may take longer if other shoulder problems are present, including tendonitis or bone problems.

Bursitis can be chronic when caused by health conditions, specifically rheumatoid arthritis.


Get the Best Treatment and Care at Palm Wellness Center

Bursitis is often chronic, so overuse will often trigger it. You may be able to determine the triggers associated with your bursitis, such as working your shoulder muscles too hard.

By determining the appropriate activity level, you may be able to reduce your symptoms and restore a full range of motion while staying active. However, sometimes only surgery can fully fix the underlying causes.

If you are in need of a physical rehabilitation treatment program for shoulder bursitis, contact our experienced doctors for a physical exam, review of your medical history, and diagnosis at Palm Wellness Center. We will thoroughly create the best treatment plan for your condition, guide you throughout the rehabilitation process, and be there for you every step of the way.

Schedule an appointment with us at (813) 443-5370 or visit www.palmwellness.center.

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