Bursae are small sacs of fluid that cushion the spaces between the joints and the muscles, and bursitis is the name for the condition when these sacs become inflamed. Shoulder bursitis is one of the more common forms of the condition.
Shoulder bursitis is a risk for people who have jobs were they put constant strain on their shoulders. It can also be caused by a rheumatic condition and rarely from an infection. A person who has continuous episodes of shoulder bursitis may have calcifications in the bursae.
The symptoms of shoulder bursitis are pain when a person tries to do an overhead movement or puts any weight on their shoulder. The area is also tender, and the range of movement of the shoulder may be reduced. The arm that connects to the shoulder is weak or has a swelling on the outside.
A doctor can often diagnose shoulder bursitis by taking note of the patient’s symptoms and performing a physical exam, though imaging technologies such as X-rays and MRIs are also used.
Many instances of shoulder bursitis espond well to resting the shoulder and soothing it with ice compresses. Doctors prescribe NSAIDs for pain and cortisone injections to ease the swelling. If the condition doesn’t respond to these treatments, the doctor can remove the fluid in the bursa through needle aspiration. A physical therapist may recommend electrotherapy and massage to further ease the pain and inflammation.
Though shoulder bursitis caused by an infection is uncommon, it needs to be treated aggressively. The doctor examines the fluid to find to what type of pathogens are causing the infection, then prescribes antibiotics to combat them. In some cases, the antibiotics are delivered intravenously. The infected fluid must be drained, and if necessary, the bursa may be removed surgically. This does not often impair the functioning of the shoulder joint.
Call Carolina Hand and Sports Medicine for More Information About Shoulder Bursitis
Residents of the areas around Asheville and Valdese North Carolina who fear they might be suffering from shoulder bursitis should call our board-certified doctors for a consultation today. Reach us at 828-253-7521 or find us at our website /contact-us.