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Understanding Shoulder Bursitis And Treatment Methods

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If you have a painful shoulder that radiates pain, then you may have a condition called bursitis. Bursitis can be extremely uncomfortable, but it can be treated. Keep reading to learn about bursitis and the various treatments that may be offered to you.

What Is Shoulder Bursitis?

Bursitis is a condition that involves the inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a sac of cartilage that is filled with fluid. The sac sits between the upper acromion bone and the lower humerus and scapula bones. This prevents the acromion from pressing on the nearby bones and also the soft tissues in the region. However, when too much stress is placed on the bursa sac, the cartilage exterior can break down and the fluid can release. This can result in a great deal of inflammation and soreness in the shoulder region.

Sometimes an orthopedic specialist will need to order an ultrasound, x-ray, or an MRI to diagnose the issue. Additionally, simple movement tests can help your specialist to differentiate between bursitis and a more common rotator cuff injury. Sometimes both of these conditions are present, especially if you have suffered an acute injury that has resulted in chronic shoulder pain and inflammation.

How Is Bursitis Treated?

Bursitis is often treated conservatively to start. Your orthopedic professional will concentrate on methods to reduce inflammation. NSAID pain relievers are prescribed, and you may be asked to limit the movement of the shoulder. You may not be able to lift heavy objects for some time, and you must limit the movement of your arm above your head. Heating pads, ice, and general rest are other treatment methods. 

If conservative treatments are effective, then you may be sent to a physical therapist who will help you to stretch the tendons and muscles to prevent future bursitis episodes. The individual will also show you how to exercise the shoulder to strengthen it so that strains can be minimized. 

If conservative treatments do not work, then you may need to take steroidal medications. The medicines may be oral ones to start, but injections may be offered as well. Surgery is something that may need to be explored where pressure and stress on the bursa is reduced; this may involve the removal of damaged cartilage or the tendons and ligaments in the region may be adjusted.

If you want to know more about bursitis, speak with a clinic that offers orthopedic care services.