Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder Bursitis

It is quite likely that at some stage in your life you have heard of the word bursitis. Bursitis is annoying, frustrating, and just something you wish you did not have to deal with!! Bursitis is however a common injury, occurring to people of all ages and is something our team of chiropractors and massage therapists see frequently at Perth Allied Health Clinic. If you are experiencing shoulder pain that just will not go away and is stopping you from moving normally, you might have shoulder bursitis.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is the result of inflammation that can be found in the bursae, a fluid-filled sac around the shoulder joint. The bursae are important around our joints as they enable the bone, tendons, and muscles of the joint to move and glide freely as you move your body. When this becomes inflamed, the joint itself can become achy even without use and anyone who has experienced bursitis would say that pressure on the joint/bursae will cause great discomfort. Bursitis is not just limited to your shoulder, it can happen all throughout your body such as your hips, knees and elbows.

What causes Bursitis?

Bursitis is commonly seen in people who perform repetitive movements or maintain prolonged abnormal postural positions. This may be seen in office workers sitting for long periods at their desk, or tradies who constantly do the same thing with their body all day. Causes of bursitis can range from the athlete to the most sedentary of people. Because the shoulder can achieve a large amount of range of motion, sometimes excessive movement such as instability can also cause a build of inflammation within the bursa. Bursitis can continue to cause problems in people where they have sustained pressure applied to the joint over time such as sleeping positions (lying on injured side).

How does bursitis present?

There are several ways our team of healthcare practitioners can detect shoulder bursitis.

  1. Patient reports pain in the shoulder when sleeping on it in the evening. In this position, the bursa is compressed and exacerbates the pain due to pressure on the inflamed bursa.
  2. Painful movements in excess of 90degrees (forwards and to the side), or hand behind the back positions (putting on a bra, scratching your back).
  3. Your healthcare practitioner can perform special tests that exacerbate the discomfort likely a result of bursitis.
  4. Diagnostic imaging – Ultrasound (most common), MRI, CT.

You may also experience these symptoms.

  • Gradual onset of shoulder symptoms over weeks or even months.
  • Pain experienced on the outside of your shoulder and may spread down the arm extending towards the elbow or wrist.
  • The pain made worse when lying on your affected shoulder or when using your arm above your head.
  • A painful arc of movement – shoulder pain felt between 60 – 90° of the arm moving up and outwards.
  • Shoulder pain with activities such as washing hair, reaching up to the high shelf in the cupboard.

How should you get your bursitis managed?

Our team of chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists at Perth Allied Health Clinic are well-trained in managing shoulder bursitis. Imaging is not vital to confirming the likelihood of bursitis, however an ultrasound referral may be beneficial. Following this, we suggest the undertaking of conservative management and could look like manual therapy such as joint mobilisation and spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercise prescription. Recovery and management can be highly successful through conservative care and following a care plan for treatment is vital to your recovery. We can be the ones to help you and would love to assist you on your health journey to be the best possible person you can be. 

Please give the clinic a call on 0476 252 599 or book online by clicking the button below!

Yours in health,

Dr Jayden Armstrong – Chiropractor

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