What is Shoulder Bursitis and Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder bursitis or Shoulder impingement are just fancy words for when you have shoulder pain.  We like to refer to shoulder pain as the “grumpy shoulder”. Often we see our clients reporting pain when they lie on the shoulder at night, reaching overhead or putting on your jacket.  An irritation to the shoulder resulting in shoulder bursitis or shoulder impingement most commonly occurs when the shoulder and its structures are unable to cope with the load or stress put through it. Often we see the Shoulder cuff or rotator cuff not being strong enough to tolerate this load. 

What is your Rotator Cuff:

This is a group of 4 muscles that act to stabilise the shoulder joint. They try and keep the ball and socket joint centred, and in doing so allow optimal movement of the shoulder joint complex. When these muscles are not doing their job properly, thats when we see problems arise such as shoulder bursitis or shoulder impingement. We often promote that a strong shoulder is a happy shoulder.

So what is causing my pain?

This is a tough question! In short it may be a number of things. It could be a rotator cuff muscle, a tendon or the bursa. These can all cause pain and irritation around the shoulder. The tricky problem arises as it may not just be one of these structures that is causing your pain, but can be all or none – it may be your neck? This is why the shoulder complex can be a complicated area to treat. That being said, if we try and simplify the condition our job becomes a little easier.  Our goal in essence is to reduce your aggravating factors, settle down the irritation and aggravation and then focus on strengthening the area. Shoulder bursitis

How long will I be sore for?

Everyone is different. But if we intervene early enough with some hands on therapy, and specific exercises I would expect that within the first 10-14 day you should see a reduction in your pain. Keep in mind, its’ not uncommon for shoulders to be sore for upwards of 2 months. Our key focus is early and quick intervention. Reduce the irritation and then focus on a graduated strength building program.  

The video below shows our 2 favourite exercises used in the early phases of shoulder impingement or shoulder bursitis. They are relatively simple to perform and may help improve your overhead reach or reduce your pain when reaching over head.

Do I need a scan?:

Unfortunately scans don’t give us as an accurate picture. The studies show that even people WITHOUT any pain show evidence of shoulder bursitis, tendonitis or elements of shoulder impingement. So, we opt for treating YOU the individual rather than your scan.

So what can we do?

Activity is a far better approach to take. We have found that movement has far better outcomes, when compared with traditional rest. Hands on therapy such as specific soft tissue therapy, taping techniques and specific exercises are all aspect we consider when working with those who have shoulder bursitis or shoulder impingement. As we said before, our goals of treatment become quite simple – we need to settle your pain down, and then strengthen the area.

The key to long term health is strength. Specifically strength in the Rotator cuff as well as the muscles that move the shoulder blade. 

What do I do now?

Seek help from a therapist who will give you the correct  guidance and treatment plan, your shoulders should be better able tolerate your daily life and gym program, resulting in happier and less grumpy shoulders

By the time our patients leave our rooms, we ensure they are stronger and better educated on their shoulder health.

At Equilibrium Sports and Spinal clinic we thrive on helping Glen Iris locals suffering with Shoulder bursitis or shoulder impingement. Our Osteopaths service Malvern, Glen Iris, Ashburton, Hawthorn and Caulfield. Book online today, and let us help you turn your grumpy shoulder into happy shoulders of steel 

Any Questions?

Feel free to email us at info@equilibriumsas.com.au , or book online. We are also more than happy to chat via our Drift Chat box in the bottom right hand corner.

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