Shoulder Bursitis Treatment and Prevention

Shoulder Bursitis Treatment and Prevention

Stopping the discomfort requires stretching and removing stressors from the joint.

Shoulder Bursitis Treatment and Prevention

A storage container should be returned to its original location on the top shelf of your closet. Is there a problem? It was only a few pounds. So you grasp the bin by the handles and begin to hoist it over your head when a searing ache stabs your shoulder.

Consider it an unwanted introduction to shoulder bursitis, a painful inflammation of the joints caused by overuse or injury. The wear and tear of daily life might also contribute to this becoming a chronic condition.

The good news is that you may lessen your chances of experiencing this anguish by making a few tiny changes to your regular routines and performing some basic stretches.

Let’s find out how with Kelly Kinsey, MSPT, AT, a physical therapist.

What exactly is shoulder bursitis?

Your shoulder has the most flexibility and range of motion of any joint in your body. The anatomical arrangement is an engineering wonder. However, because of its intricacy, it is subject to harm.

This leads us to the bursae.

These fluid-filled sacs in your shoulder serve as a cushion. Bursae decrease rubbing and friction between the shoulder’s moving elements, which include tendons, muscles, and bones. “It’s safeguarding your other tissue,” Kinsey explains.

It’s a difficult job… and it may be taxing.

Overuse of the joint or prolonged holding it in an odd posture (more on that later) might exacerbate your bursae. Bursitis is defined by swelling and inflammation caused by irritation.

“It can cause substantial agony,” Kinsey observes.

3 Remedies for Shoulder Bursitis

What is the first step to relieving your bursitis? Stop exacerbating the situation. “Avoid things that give you anguish,” Kinsey advises. “Doesn’t that sound simple? However, significant adjustments in how you do things may be required.”

Here are three typical causes of shoulder bursitis in everyday life – and how you may treat them.

Position for sleeping

When you wake up in the morning, does your arm hurt? If so, it might be due to your sleeping posture. “It’s not ideal if you’re resting on your side with your arm stretched under your pillow,” Kinsey explains.

Leaving your arm in that posture for hours pinches your bursae and rotator cuff, causing impingement and stress on your shoulder.

The solution is to try a different cushion. “If you want to put your arm beneath your pillow, it’s usually because the pillow is either thin or too soft,” Kinsey says. “Getting a new, heavier pillow will help you not want to do that.”


Long durations of leaning on your elbows compress the shoulder, which is also bad for your shoulder health. (Examples include sitting with your elbows on your desk at work or driving with your arm on the center console of your automobile.)

“You’re effectively squishing the water balloon that is your bursa and exacerbating it,” Kinsey adds.

Reposition oneself as a solution. Move about a little so you’re not leaning on your elbows for long periods of time and overworking your shoulders. Consider using a standing desk at work.


Slouching drags your shoulder blades forward, putting pressure on the bursae and producing the circumstances for bursitis. (You may find yourself in this position when clicking on a computer keyboard or browsing through your phone.)

Poor posture can also strain your neck and back, resulting in a network of overused muscles.

The key is to concentrate on sitting up straight. Examine your workstation setting to reduce the amount of time you spend gazing down. Additionally, get up and move around frequently to avoid becoming trapped in one position.

Stretches to reduce the likelihood of shoulder bursitis

Let’s start with the obvious: A bursa sac cannot be exercised or stretched. (Remember, it’s just a cushion.) What you can do is work the muscles and tendons around the bursae to give it the space it needs.

“We begin with mobility and looseness in our shoulders,” Kinsey explains. “However, our usual, daily activities might tighten things up in a bad way.” Stretching can assist with this by freeing up the shoulders and allowing the bursae to work more efficiently.”

Here are three easy stretches to maintain your joints in good shape.

Doorway enlargement

The stretch focuses on the pectoral muscles and the front of the chest.

1​. Place yourself in an open doorway.
2. Extend your arms and grip each side of the doorway. Maintain your hands at or below shoulder height.
3. Lean forward for 30 seconds and hold. Rep three times more.

A squeeze of the shoulder blades

The stretch increases limb mobility and aids with posture improvement.

1. Sit or stand with your arms at your sides.
2. Relax your shoulders into a natural, resting position. (No sighing!)
3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you move your arms back. Hold for one second before returning to your starting position.​Perform two sets of ten squeezes.

Arms crossed stretch

The stretch targets the rear of your shoulders, increasing flexibility.

1. Bring your right arm across your chest at chest heights.
2. Bend your left elbow and squeeze your left forearm on your right forearm, bringing your right arm closer to your chest.
3. Hold for 20 seconds before switching arms and repeating. Perform three sets.

Can you work out if you have shoulder bursitis?

Bursitis was most likely caused by overuse of your shoulder. Continuing to strain your shoulder will not help the ache go away.

Kinsey recommends taking a vacation from activities that aggravate your shoulder to allow the joint to recover. A week of rest should be enough before beginning any stretching. Anti-inflammatory drugs and ice can also aid with recovery.

Shoulder bursitis can affect anybody, although it is more frequent in persons who work in professions or activities that require a lot of shoulder movement. Consider painters and on-the-diamond ballplayers.

Is bursitis the most common cause of shoulder pain?

Shoulder bursitis is usually associated with another shoulder problem, such as a rotator cuff or bicep tendon problem. “Bursitis without other symptoms is uncommon,” Kinsey explains. “It’s frequently associated with other tissues being injured as well.”

So, if rest, lifestyle adjustments, and stretching don’t help you are sore joint, see your doctor for a more complete assessment of the shoulder.

“If you’re having difficulty lifting your arm,” Kinsey adds, “it’s definitely more serious than bursitis.”

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