DIET AND FITNESS:

Shoulder Bursitis --Causes and
Cures
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March 3, 2010, last updated June 8, 2014

By Muireann Prendergast, Contributing Columnist, and
Susan Callahan, Health Editor


SHOULDER BURSITIS – A STRANGE NAME BUT A COMMON
PROBLEM

Most of us have felt that familiar twinge in our shoulders
after a too-enthusiastic day of lifting. But is shoulder pain
keeping you awake at night? Do you experience sharp pain
in your shoulders each time you lift your arm, move your
hand or even turn your head? Is your shoulder region
swollen? Do you feel that your shoulder is generally weaker
than before?

If so, you might be suffering from shoulder bursitis.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases (NIAMS) explains that shoulder bursitis occurs
when a sack called a "bursae" becomes inflamed. Bursae are
slippery, fluid filled, cushions between tendons, muscles and
bones, making movement easy and pain free. Without bursae
this movement would be difficult and painful.

There are over 150 bursa sacs in the human body in areas
such as the knee, elbow and toe but the shoulder bursa is
one of the largest. You can therefore experience
bursitis in
the knees, hips, toes as well as your shoulders.

There are no official figures on the number of Americans
who suffer from shoulder bursitis. Part of the reason for the
absence of statistics is that the term "shoulder bursitis" often
is  used interchangeably with shoulder tendonitis and
"frozen shoulder".

All these conditions can involve the irritation and swelling of
soft tissue with the bursa and the tendons often becoming
inflamed at the same time as the bursae.  What is known is
that shoulder pain is one of the most common medical
complaints in the US and shoulder bursitis is one of the most
common orthopedic diagnoses in the US.

CAUSES OF SHOULDER BURSITIS

According to research studies, shoulder bursitis has
numerous causes, including direct trauma such as injuries
from falling down and the overuse of the shoulder joint.
Workers who repeatedly move the shoulder joint in their
work such as tennis players and gardeners are more
susceptible to the condition.

Inflammatory conditions such as
rheumatoid arthritis are
further causes of shoulder bursitis. The aging process can
also trigger the condition.

TREATMENT OF SHOULDER BURSITIS

Here are the most recommended treatments for non-septic
shoulder bursitis.
Septic bursitis requires different treatment.


























1. REST
The first recommendation for the treatment of shoulder
bursitis is the most obvious one, rest the affected area. Any
activity that causes pain such as lifting arms above the head
or moving the neck should be avoided.  In particular, no
reaching for items above your head, shoulder presses in the
gym or athletic motions such as shooting a basketball or
serving a tennis ball.

2. HEAT AND ICE
A cold or hot compress is equally effective in reducing pain
and whichever can be chosen as it is largely a matter of
personal preference. A wet towel, applied for 15 minutes,
can increase blood flow to the shoulder while a hot
compress has the same effect.  However, in my personal
experience with shoulder bursitis, warm to hot compresses
work best.

3. SOFT TISSUE INJECTIONS
A soft tissue injection administered by a doctor can give
quick relief to shoulder pain and inflammation. As the anti-
inflammatory used might be a Corticosteroid, it is important
to let your doctor know if you are allergic to steroids before
going ahead with the treatment.        

4. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATION
Your doctor might also recommend a non-steroidal anti-
inflammatory medication to be administered orally for relief.
An over the counter version such as Ibuprofen can offer
short term pain relief.

5. PHYSICAL THERAPY
A course of specific exercises, carried out in conjunction with
a physical therapist, rather than medical treatments, might
be the most effective option in the long term. Discuss options
with your doctor.

HOW TO PREVENT SHOULDER BURSITIS

1. TRY NOT TO OVERWORK THE SHOULDER AREA
For those who use the shoulder region repeatedly in their
work, it is important to allow for periods of rest in the day so
as not to overwork the region. This will help to avoid
Shoulder Bursitis in the long term.

2. SPECIFIC EXERCISIES
If you feel that you might be susceptible to the condition or
if you have a history of it, a set of exercises, to be practiced
regularly, can be developed in conjunction with a
physiotherapist so as to strengthen the area.

3. IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE
A straight, non-hunched, posture can work wonders for
shoulder and back health. Slouching can put unnecessary
pressure on the shoulder region which over time could
develop into a painful problem.

4. TRY NOT TO LIFT OVERLY HEAVY OBJECTS
The lifting of heavy objects over time can also cause Bursitis
as this puts extra pressure on the shoulder area. If heavy
lifting is an unavoidable part of your job it is a good idea to
develop a warm up exercise regime with a physiotherapist so
as to better prepare the shoulder region for the impact of
heavy lifting. Where possible use a trolley to move heavy
objects.

5. USE PADS
It’s a good idea to place pads on the shoulder area if it is
used to move or carry objects. Also, cushioned rather than
hard chairs are vital for back and shoulder comfort in people
prone to shoulder problems.


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Hip Bursitis Causes and Cures

Knee Bursitis Causes and Cures

Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis Pain

Oh My Aching Bones--Simple Remedies

Arthritis -10 Natural Remedies

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