Even though they are crucial for so many of our movements, our shoulders are not parts of the body we think about much. Among many other activities, your shoulder joint makes it possible for you to lift pots and pans, hug your loved ones, drive a car, reach something on a shelf, and brush your teeth.
When you are suddenly hit with shoulder pain, it can be all-consuming. That’s when you should turn to Dr. Dominique Nickson at Next Step Orthopedics in McKinney, Texas. Your problem is likely caused by a condition known as shoulder bursitis. Let’s read on to learn more and look at five treatments that relieve the painful problem.
The basics of shoulder mechanics
A complex ball-and-socket joint, your shoulder is the meeting place of many ligaments, bones (humerus, scapula, and clavicle), muscles, tendons, and four primary joints called the acromioclavicular, glenohumeral, sternoclavicular, and scapulothoracic. All of these components have to work in concert for you to rotate and move your arms freely.
Understanding shoulder bursitis
With so many moving parts, it’s easy to see why shoulder pain is a top reason why men and women seek help from an orthopedic doctor. Shoulder bursitis is one of the primary causes of shoulder problems and occurs when tiny sacs of fluid in your shoulder, called bursa, get aggravated and inflamed. Since their role is to cushion your shoulder movements, it’s no wonder bursitis can significantly impair your range of motion and nearly stop you in your tracks.:
5 treatments for shoulder bursitis
Thankfully, at-home treatments for shoulder bursitis are usually very effective. Here are some options:
At the onset of pain, you should rest your shoulder for a day or two. If your pain is related to sports or recurrent movements, taking a break from those activities gives the inflammation in your bursa time to subside.
Icing your shoulder also helps with the inflammation and makes it easier to move your shoulder without pain. Ice is most helpful in the early stages of shoulder bursitis.
You can work with a physical therapist or perform a few healing stretches on your own. Some of the best low-impact stretches include hand presses, strap stretches, and shoulder circles. Talk to Dr. Nickson or a member of our care team for instructions on properly performing each of these beneficial exercises.
Realigning your spine can benefit your shoulder as well. Spinal manipulation accelerates soft tissue repair and healing of strained muscles and tendons.
Anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen is ideal for shoulder bursitis. It reduces both pain and inflammation so you can move easier.
If your pain persists and at-home treatments aren’t resolving the problem, Dr. Nickson may recommend extracting the fluid from your shoulder bursa or injecting corticosteroids. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to restore the function of your shoulder fully.