What’s bursitis shoulder?

Picture this, you’ve been training for the marathon of your life and everything is going swimmingly. You feel great, you’re pushing through the aches and pains like a champ. Then one day, out of nowhere, BAM! Your shoulder starts acting up. Suddenly every move feels like torture and your arm is about as useful as a limp noodle.

Well folks, chances are you might be dealing with bursitis shoulder – but fear not my dear readers because we’re here to break it all down for you in layman’s terms.

What is Bursitis?

Let’s start with the basics – what exactly is bursitis? Well friends, let us tell you that it’s a condition where small fluid-filled sacs called bursae (yes that’s right ‘bur-say’, get fancy with your medical terminology) become inflamed near joints such as knees or shoulders etc. These cushions lie between bones or other body parts making movement much easier by reducing friction between them.

Normally these little beauties go relatively unnoticed until they become painfully impaired by inflammation & swelling (Oh No!) – this can occur from excessive repetitive motion or due to trauma i.e an injury sustained during physical activity such as sports (OUCH!).

Anyhoo long story short: when things get spicy inside our dearest bursae instead of being filled liquid gold their walls expand rapidly under pressure becoming less flexible which then leads to thicker drainage-like fluids being produced resulting in pain & discomfort…Ah yes- welcome to the party guys(it’s not fun tho).

In case something similar has happened to any part of your body do have yourself checked!

The Role of Shoulders

Did you know that our beautiful bods’ contain around 140+ synovial joints responsible for overall mobility? Our shoulders are versatile beings playing host to two key gestures- Abduction (moving arm away from body) and Adduction(moving towards the body)- this then allows us to carry out a whole host of daily activities such as brushing our hair, sipping that hot mug of coffee or showing off those chiselled arms.

Shoulders are supported by tendons which attach muscles to bones, these tendons glide through their own bursae i.e subacromial bursa. If any problem arises within the shoulder synchronisation process chances are you might experience some discomfort in the form of stiffness etc.


So how do we know for sure if we’re dealing with bursitis shoulder? Well my dear friends there’s a couple common symptoms:

  • Painful Shoulder movement
  • Discomfort felt on outside/top part of shoulder(we’re sorry your ‘tops’ won’t cut it now)
  • Possible Swelling & Redness
  • Morning is worse.

If none of The above mentioned criterias match what you are feeling right now, please visit your doctor!

Diagnosing Bursitis

As they say ‘knowledge is power’ well lucky for us there’s ways for medical professionals to diagnose bursitis! A healthcare professional may be able to identify whether it’s bursa related irritation or another underlying pathology with either one/two tests:
1. Physical examination: Experiencing localized swelling/pain can point towards its origin/area(s) affected.
2. Imaging Test: X-rays help eliminate other potential diagnoses like bone abnormalities/fractures while an MRI gives detailed images highlighting tissue inflammation/signifying illnesses concerned.(WOW).

Once diagnosed medical professionals recommend non-surgical treatments before heading over onto surgical options.

Non-Surgical Options You Say?

Indeed we do kind reader – depending on severity typically steps taken prior surgery involve pain relief medication administered orally/injected directly into/around inflamed spots(weighted options) combined with other physical therapies including:

  • Rest
  • Ice Packs (placed at 20 minute intervals)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Shoulder braces to increase stability and ease the pain.

Please don’t hesitate to consult formal healthcare if these are ongoing issues.

Surgical Options

Although surgical options tend to be rare but they still occur especially in chronic conditions where bursitis cause a significant decrease in smooth day-to-day movemenst. Surgery generally means draining and removing said inflamed bursa entirely. The tissue will later regrow eventually functioning properly without irritation or swelling/niggling pain (Fingers crossed).

The majority of patients recover wholly from surgery within 6 -12 weeks post operation depending on severity of pre-existing inflammation/discomfort levels, first two days being most severe(we’re so sorry small shoulder). Please follow up seriously with doctors’ advice regarding physiotherapy & therapeutic protocols after the surgery for quicker recovery!


“Prevention is better than cure!” Sound familiar? Yes! In this section we take you through easy approaches that can significantly reduce your chances of developing ‌bursitis shoulder:

  1. Limit Repetitive Movements: Take breaks, rest & stretch when needed performing repetitive movements (especially sports enthusiasts).

  2. Maintain Proper Posture: Improper posture leads to uneven muscle contraction involving our dear shoulders leading towards unnecessary straining specially during long periods:( oh no!).

  3. Keep Your Bones Strong:Dipping back into biology class , Adequate calcium intake helps avoid various bone related problems thus keeping ligaments/ tendons healthy as well.(hurray now bring me my next serving!).

  4. Don’t Push Through discomfort: When experiencing discomfort don’t just “push-through”. Discontinue/reduce your activity immediately before consulting with medical professionals otherwise damage may result!

5.Warm-Up Before Activities :Similar as stretching beforehand doing small warmup exercises boosts your body’s performance, additionally it prevents any unwanted damage or strain caused to the bodies joints particularly shoulder.

With these simple pointers in mind the risk of developing said condition will be greatly reduced.(hurray!)

In Conclusion

Bursitis Shoulder can really get on a person’s nerves! But hopefully our tongue-in-cheek explanation has put you more at ease regarding what exactly is going wrong with your dear ole’ shoulders.

When diagnosed early, and with proper treatment, rest & self-care; full recovery can be expected with minimal disruption to daily life. While it’s difficult for us humans not fall prey towards such ailments we should still take necessary precautionary measures for a more ‘comfortable’ living!

Stay informed my friends – stay healthy!

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