Around half of Americans experience shoulder pain at least once each year. Given the amount of work that the body’s major joints do each day, it’s no surprise that this number is so high.
If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, you could have shoulder bursitis. This condition is common and can be debilitating in the most severe cases. If you have shoulder pain, don’t wait until it becomes too painful to do everyday things. Dr. Dominique Nickson, board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Next Step Orthopedics, can treat your bursitis.
What is shoulder bursitis?
The skeletal system is an amazing mechanism that allows your body to balance, walk, run, play sports, and lift things. All of the bones in your skeletal system work together with muscles and connective tissues to get these things done without your even being aware of it.
The bursa are very small fluid-filled sacs that prevent friction when your bones move. There are lots of them around the body, and they allow the joints to glide easily rather than rub against bone. Shoulder bursitis is a condition in which the bursa in your shoulder joint has become inflamed, injured, or irritated. In these cases, it often becomes larger and creates less space in your shoulder joint for normal, easy movement.
Shoulder bursitis has a number of causes and risk factors, including:
- An injury to the shoulder, such as an impact during sports, or lifting something very heavy
- Underlying infection
- An existing rheumatic condition
People who have labor-intensive and physical jobs are more prone to shoulder bursitis, as are people who engage in repetitive movements in the shoulder area, such as musicians and athletes.
What are the symptoms of shoulder bursitis?
Many people experience shoulder pain, but it’s important to know what symptoms to look out for with shoulder bursitis so you can seek the right treatment. You might have shoulder bursitis if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pain when you try and lift your arm up above your head or to the side
- Pain or discomfort when you put pressure on your shoulder by lying on it
- General pain and discomfort on the top or the outside of your shoulder
- Limited range when trying to move your shoulder
- A feeling of pressure inside the shoulder
- A feeling of stiffness
How is shoulder bursitis treated?
In minor cases where the condition is diagnosed early, home remedies can help significantly. Rest and applying cold packs to reduce inflammation and pain can relieve early stages of shoulder bursitis.
When you visit Next Step Orthopedics, Dr. Nickson evaluates the condition of your shoulder and makes a diagnosis. If you have shoulder bursitis, he may offer the following treatment options:
- Rest and relaxation in order to reduce the pressure on the bursa and the shoulder so it can heal
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- An injection of corticosteroids where the inflammation is more severe
- Physical therapy
- Shoulder surgery as a last resort to reduce pressure on the bursa and repair damage
In many cases, Dr. Nickson will prescribe specific shoulder exercises to help to speed recovery and also strengthen the muscles around your shoulder. People who experience an episode of shoulder bursitis are more likely to have a recurrence, and these exercises are aimed at mitigating the risks.