You may have heard an older person complain about their bursitis acting up and wondered what that meant. Humans have over 150 little fluid filled sacs throughout their body that cushion and lubricate the moving parts of the body. They can be found between the bones, tendons and muscles near the joints. Major bursae are found near the large joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
When a bursa becomes inflamed, the condition is called bursitis. There are three main types of bursitis.
- Chronic bursitis – This is the most common type. It is often caused by repetitive irritation of the bursa over time. Chronic bursitis may present for unknown reasons. Sometimes a medical condition such as gout, pseudogout, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes can cause the bursa to swell, although these conditions do not necessarily cause bursitis.
- Infected bursitis – If the bursa becomes infected with bacteria, it can cause swelling. It needs to be treated right away. Spreading of the infection can cause serious complications.
- Traumatic bursitis – Least common among the types of bursitis, traumatic bursitis occurs mostly in athletes. Excessive bending of the joint or rubbing against a hard surface can cause this condition.
Bursitis in the shoulder is usually the result of excessive stress on the bursa. This can happen through injury or overuse. Rarely, infection is the cause for shoulder bursitis.
The irritation causes swelling and inflammation, which can lead to pain. Some patients experience swelling without pain. When the bursitis is the result of trauma, there is usually immediate swelling. The area may feel warm and be tender to the touch as well.
Treatment for Bursitis
Generally, bursitis does not call for surgical treatment. The first step is reducing the inflammation. This is done with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. You should also refrain from doing anything that causes pain in your shoulder. Reaching or stretching beyond your comfort level needs to be avoided. The medication and modified movement should help reduce the pain and swelling within a few weeks. After the pain is under control, physical therapy may be advised to help you get back to your everyday activities.
When symptoms linger on, a cortisone injection may be recommended. The cortisone is injected into the swollen area to reduce the swelling. Occasionally, if you have a significant amount of swelling when you first visit the doctor, a cortisone shot may be administered right away. Since this drug can also weaken tendons when used on a repeated basis, it is wise to consider how often you receive injections.
Shoulder bursitis can be painful and keep you from participating in activities you enjoy or need to do. Sovereign Rehabilitation can help you overcome this condition and get you back in the game. Give us a call to schedule an examination and consultation appointment.
Posted on behalf of Sovereign Rehabilitation
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Suite 225
Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 835-3340