Recover from Shoulder Bursitis that can lead to severe discomfort, joint inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and pain using the latest non-surgical treatment options, including anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, trigger point injections, and prolotherapy. Our sports injury doctors can pinpoint the source of your shoulder pain and prescribe a personalized, time-tested treatment for bursitis in the shoulder that works. Visit our NYC centers for pain management and meet our physicians to get the shoulder pain relief you need in the safe, reassuring hands of the best doctors in New York. Downtown Pain Physicians will help you find the cause and develop a customized treatment plan for your needs.
Inside each of the shoulders, there is a bursa, which is a tiny and fluid-filled sac. The bursae have the function of adding lubrication and helping in reducing friction between the bones in the joints. In cases where the bursa is inflamed, a condition known as shoulder bursitis can occur.
There are various causes behind shoulder bursitis, such as an injury, overuse, or a medical condition, which can cause joint inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Shoulder bursitis is other referred to as subacromial bursitis. There are different shoulder bursitis treatment options, some at home and others in a doctor’s office.
As bursitis is often caused by inflammation, you must allow the affected shoulder enough time to rest, as this can help reduce symptoms. If there are activities that increase your pain or worsen the symptoms, you must avoid doing them until your shoulder has healed. If you are in pain, it is recommended to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they can help to reduce both pain and inflammation. Some examples include naproxen sodium or ibuprofen. Acetaminophen can help to manage pain as well.
What are the symptoms of shoulder bursitis?
The shoulder bursa is a cushion of the tendon in the rotator cuff, which has the function of connecting bone to bone. When you suffer from bursitis, certain types of movements of the shoulder and the tendon can lead to severe discomfort and pain.
The pain that is experienced depends on the specific injury you have suffered. Generally speaking, some common symptoms of bursitis include:
- pain when you’re trying to circle the arm
- pain when you lye on the shoulder
- pain on the outside of the shoulder or the top of the shoulder
- pain that worsens whenever you lift the arm to the side
- pain while opening a door or pushing on a door
- pressure and pain whenever you push on the top of the shoulder
Certain people are at an increased risk of suffering from shoulder bursitis than others. Some examples of people who use their shoulders more and are therefore more prone to suffering from shoulder bursitis include:
However, anyone can suffer a shoulder injury that can develop into shoulder bursitis.
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What bursitis shoulder treatment options are there?
As bursitis is often caused by inflammation, you must allow the affected shoulder enough time to rest, as this can help reduce symptoms. If there are activities that increase your pain or worsen the symptoms, you must avoid doing them until your shoulder has healed.
If you are in pain, it is recommended to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they can help to reduce both pain and inflammation. Some examples include:
Ice therapy can also help to reduce swelling and pain. Make sure to always wear some kind of protective covering between your skin and the ice. An ice pack should only be applied to the affected area for 15 minutes at a time, but you can repeat this a couple of times throughout the day.
Wearing a shoulder rest can be helpful, as it can limit the motion of your shoulder, allowing it to rest and heal better. It is also a good reminder for you to not do as much and rest the affected arm. Although many shoulder braces can be purchased at a drugstore, your doctor or physical therapist might need to show you how to properly wear them.
Some stretches and exercises can help to stretch the shoulder muscles and ease the symptoms. It is very important to never stretch or exercise up to a point where you feel severe pain and discomfort. Such exercises can be performed up to three times a day and can help to reduce the tension within the shoulder muscles.
Some of the recommended stretches and exercises include:
- posterior stretch
- shoulder blade squeeze
- shoulder blade range of motion
If you are unsure about how to safely perform such stretches and exercises, speak to your doctor about the possibility of visiting a physical therapist, which can show you how to perform shoulder exercises safely and effectively.
Such at-home treatments can be very helpful, but there are many cases, where patients still feel pain and discomfort. Should that be the case, you must speak to your healthcare provider about it. Your doctor might prescribe you stronger pain medications, which can help you to manage the symptoms. However, this only helps with the symptoms but doesn’t heal the underlying cause of shoulder bursitis.
Treatment for shoulder bursitis often includes corticosteroid injections. A corticosteroid injection is injected directly around the bursa and is a more powerful anti-inflammatory drug, that can also help to relieve pain. However, such an injection also increases the possibility of your tendon rupturing, which is why you can only have a limited number of corticosteroid injections.
Your doctor can help you decide how many corticosteroid injections are helpful for your case, without increasing the risk of a tendon rupture. This procedure lasts only 5 minutes and a total of 15 minutes including preparation and explaining the procedure. In some cases, a corticosteroid injection for shoulder bursitis is used as a way of evaluating whether the pain is caused by the bursa.
When there is a good response to the injection, chances are that the bursa is the source of pain. However, if the symptoms don’t improve even a couple of days after the injection, it might mean that the pain is caused by another issue. It can be very helpful information for your doctor, as it might mean that other possible causes need to be investigated. A common side effect of such an injection is a worsening of the symptoms, which however only lasts for one or two days, before providing symptom relief.
In very rare cases, people can experience an allergic reaction after a corticosteroid injection. There is also a minimal risk of suffering an infection, however, your doctor will carry out the procedure in clean conditions to minimize this risk as much as possible. Should you experience symptoms of an infection after a corticosteroid injection, such as a high fever, you must seek medical attention.
Prolotherapy is another name for proliferation therapy. It’s also called regenerative injection therapy. The procedure itself has a long history. Prolotherapy is a non-invasive procedure that injects a solution into a targeted area of the shoulder that has been injured and is weak. Once it is injected, the sugar injections for pain helps to stimulate the body’s healing process.
Trigger point injections.
A trigger point injection is used for the management of shoulder pain. The injection contains can either be just a corticosteroid to serve as an anti-inflammatory, an anesthetic to relieve pain or a mixture of both. The dry needle is used in some cases where a syringe of saline is injected into the trigger point instead of medicine.
In cases where surgery is necessary, your surgeon will most likely use arthroscopy to do so. During arthroscopy, only small incisions are made in the skin to insert surgical instruments, which can then remove the damaged area of the tissue, which might be pressing on the bursa or irritating the bursa. There are cases where the doctor will also remove the bursa and create more space for the tendon. After surgery, physical therapy is necessary to help with recovery.
For more information about Shoulder Bursitis treatment or schedule an appointment with the top injury doctors in Downtown, Brooklyn, and Lower Manhattan, please call our office for a consultation and indicate which location you want to visit.
The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.
- Board Certified
- Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
Education & training
- SUNY Downstate PMR Residency
- Rutgers University Fellowship