The shoulder’s bursa is a tiny sack filled with gel. It rests between the joints in the shoulder, and it’s responsible for reducing friction during movement. Shoulder bursitis occurs when this sack becomes inflamed.
The most common symptoms of shoulder bursitis include pain in the shoulder, stiffness, and a limited ability to move the shoulder. The pain usually develops on the outside of the shoulder, and it may be worse when the patient is sleeping or attempts to raise the arm above the head.
In severe cases, shoulder bursitis can lead to a more serious condition, such as shoulder impingement syndrome. This condition will require more extensive treatment.
Shoulder bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed because of an underlying rheumatic condition like arthritis, an infection, or an injury.
If a patient comes in with symptoms that indicate shoulder bursitis, Dr. Nickson will begin by examining the shoulder. During this examination, he will pay special attention to the discomfort the patient experiences with specific movements of the shoulder. He will also ask questions about the patient’s history, and he may order imaging tests to rule out other possible causes of pain, such as a fracture.
If Dr. Nickson confirms a diagnosis of shoulder bursitis, he will recommend treatments based on the severity of the condition and the patient’s preferences. In many cases, patients can recover from shoulder bursitis by:
If the condition has progressed to shoulder impingement syndrome, the patient may need more invasive treatment, such as surgery.
Shoulder bursitis is often a recurrent problem that may return after treatment. Patients can avoid future episodes of bursitis by avoiding repetitive overhead motions and working to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder. Patients should also follow all of Dr. Nickson’s post-treatment instructions carefully to reduce the risk of future problems.
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