Shoulder Bursitis Treatments - Pursuit Physical Therapy
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Best Orlando Treatment for a

SHOULDER BURSITIS

Are you not able to continue your cherished hobbies or everyday activities because of sharp pain in your shoulder when you move? With our expert doctors’ help, you can get to the root of your symptoms and get back to doing what you love quicker and easier.

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Best Orlando Treatment for a

SHOULDER BURSITIS

Are you not able to continue your cherished hobbies or everyday activities because of sharp pain in your shoulder when you move? With our expert doctors’ help, you can get to the root of your symptoms and get back to doing what you love quicker and easier.

Read More Ask A Question

Here Is Everything You Need To Know About Shoulder Bursitis, What Causes It, and The Best Way to Treat It

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What is shoulder bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis is a painful condition that affects people of all ages. The condition tends to develop more in middle-aged, elderly, and individuals who have muscle weakness. Shoulder bursitis can have many causes, but the most common is a repetitive activity, such as overhead reaching, throwing, or arm-twisting, which creates friction in the upper shoulder area. Athletes often develop shoulder bursitis after throwing, pitching, or swimming repetitively. The condition can happen gradually or suddenly, or can be a result of an autoimmune disease. It can also occur without any specific cause. Physical therapy can be a very effective treatment for shoulder bursitis to reduce pain, swelling, stiffness, and associated weakness in the shoulder, arm, neck, and upper back.

Shoulder impingement and tendinitis can occur along with shoulder bursitis. A physical therapist can effectively treat all of these conditions together.

What are common causes of shoulder bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis (also called subacromial bursitis) occurs when the bursa (a fluid-filled sac on the side of the shoulder) becomes damaged, irritated, or inflamed. Bursitis (“-itis”); means “inflammation”) means the bursa has become irritated and inflamed, which causes pain. Normally, the bursa acts as a cushion for the rotator cuff tendon of the supraspinatus muscle that sits under the bursa, and prevents the tendon from rubbing on the acromion bone above the bursa. Certain positions, motions, or disease processes can cause friction or stress on the bursa, leading to the development of bursitis. When the bursa becomes injured, the tendon doesn’t glide smoothly over it, and can become painful.Shoulder bursitis can be caused by:

  • Repetitive motions (overhead reaching or lifting, throwing, or twisting of the arm)
  • Muscle weakness or poor muscle coordination
  • Incorrect posture
  • Direct trauma (being hit, or falling on, the side of the shoulder)
  • Shoulder surgery or replacement
  • Calcium deposits in the shoulder
  • Overgrowth or bone spurs in the acromion bone
  • Infection
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriasis, or thyroid disease
  • Muscles or tendons in the shoulder area rubbing the bursa and causing irritation

Where does it hurt?

In most cases of shoulder bursitis, patients report lateral diffused shoulder pain or pain inside the shoulder. Usually they have some clicking and popping with active motions. This is usually due to poor biomechanics that compress the shoulder bursa. Shoulder impingement can also cause similar symptoms too. Understanding the root cause of your pain is fundamental to treating your pain in the long run and will decrease your dependence on painkillers or treatment that only addresses the symptoms.

What are common symptoms of shoulder bursitis?

 

  • Achiness and a dull ache in a side of the shoulder
  • Pain with raising arm over head
  • Pinching pain reaching overhead
  • Pain free at rest and small movements
  • Painful arch of motion.

Learn how to get rid of your shoulder pain

Sign up for our free webinar when we break down 3 actual patient cases and show you, exactly, how we got them pain free.

We’ll show you:

  • The most common cases of shoulder pain
  • How some shoulder pain can be commonly misdiagnosed
  • How to tell what type of shoulder pain you have
  • Self treatment that you can try at home

Can shoulder bursitis be treated?

If you see your physical therapist first, the physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history. Your physical therapist also will ask you detailed questions about your injury, such as:

  • How and when did you notice the pain?
  • Have you been performing any repetitive activity?
  • Did you receive a direct hit to the shoulder, or fall on it?

Your physical therapist also will perform special tests to help determine the likelihood that you have shoulder bursitis. Your physical therapist will gently press on the outer side of the shoulder to see if it is painful to the touch, and may use additional tests to determine if other parts of your shoulder are injured. The physical therapist also will observe your posture, and how you lift your arm.

Your physical therapist will test and screen for other, more serious conditions that could cause shoulder pain. To provide a definitive diagnosis, your physical therapist may collaborate with an orthopedic physician or other health care provider, who may order further tests, such as an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other damage to the shoulder, such as a fracture.

“On my first visit with Ron, he did a thorough evaluation and identified the underlying issue with my shoulder. […] Within a week, the pain in my shoulder was significantly decreased. […] What’s been amazing is that I’m realizing how much I’d been accommodating a reduced range of motion and pain in my shoulder for who knows how long! Bottom line: I highly recommend Ron and Pursuit Physical Therapy.

What happens if it goes untreated?

Minor case – If it is a minor case of pain from shoulder bursitis, research shows that many acute cases of pain may spontaneously go away in 4-8 weeks. You may have had bursitis before you had your shoulder pain, so it may be a false positive finding and not the cause of your shoulder pain? But who wants to wait 8 weeks to get pain free? Let’s try to solve the root cause of your pain in 2-3 weeks and address all of the risk factors present (so it never returns!) and get you back to your favorite activities faster! We still recommend that you get it checked out by one of our board-certified physical therapists to ensure that it is just a minor case, to solve all risk factors, and to get the optimal outcome in the fewest visits needed. Most minor cases resolve on their own in time or get better with some stretching and strengthening. But, the sooner you take action, the sooner you are pain-free. (And research supports this!)

Severe case – If it’s more of a severe and chronic case of pain from shoulder bursitis, your pain will probably start to worsen and increase because the root cause of the pain is not being treated. Something is impinging on the shoulder bursa and the bursa is not the problem. It’s the effect, and you need to solve the cause. Many people turn to pain medication at this time but this only blocks the pain for short term. You may not feel the pain when taking pain medications, but the underlying problem is still there. Many people say after the pain medication is stopped, then usually the pain returns and sometimes it returns even worse. This is because you didn’t feel the pain but the bursa has continuously impinged with every motion and now it’s worse. You will notice increased pain with all motions now, it will be painful to lift anything, sleeping hurts, and your range of motion will continue to decrease. You may even start to have a dull ache of referred pain in the side of your shoulder that is constant. Even though it’s more chronic now, we can still help. Once the root cause and all risk factors are addressed, then we can start decreasing your pain, regardless of how chronic and severe the pain is. This is the crucial first step. It just may take more time to recover from a chronic case. Usually with chronic and severe cases, the longer you have your pain and injury, the longer it takes to resolve.

What outcome can you expect from treatment?

As we’ve discussed, the first step is to solve the root cause of your shoulder bursitis pain. This is the most essential step to plan a treatment specialized for you and your unique type of pain. Your root cause will guide your treatment and dictate what is the best way to treat your pain. This, along with identifying risk factors that may be predisposing you to have your pain and injury, will allow you to start getting pain free again. The next step is to start decreasing pain, modifying activities, and start addressing all of the impairments causing your pain which we discovered during your evaluation. With each session, pain should start to decrease and you should start to regain range of motion with less pain and symptoms. Any radicular and referred pain should resolve fast as well. At this point, we begin light and basic strengthening only if it does not increase pain. Treatment will consist of  a lot of manual therapy and light exercises.

The next step is to achieve full range of motion, (which should correlate to being pain free) and now we can start progressive strengthening. Strengthening the muscles is crucial and research shows that this gives you the best long-term outcome! As you start to get stronger and maintain your mobility, your pain will continue to decrease if it is not already gone. Your increased strength will allow you to perform more activities and prevent flare ups. This usually does take up to 4 weeks. As you clear our goals, then we can start easing you back into sport, golf, running, and whatever your favorite activities are. This is when we start winding down treatments and getting you back into functional strengthening, sport specific training, return to run programs, golfing, and whatever your goals are. At the end, we reassess everything, making sure we achieved all of our goals, your goals, that all risk factors are gone, and finalize your long term home exercise program. There are many factors which can influence your outcome, but 85-90% of our patients respond well to our treatment approach and achieve a successful outcome when completing their plan of care.

Learn how to get rid of your shoulder pain

Sign up for our free webinar when we break down 3 actual patient cases and show you, exactly, how we got them pain free.

How is it diagnosed?

when you seek help for shoulder bursitis pain, we will perform a comprehensive evaluation and ask questions about your pain and your daily activities.

These may include:

  • How and when the pain started: Did the pain begin spontaneously or was there any trauma or injury experienced in the area?
  • Where are the symptoms located, and have they changed location or intensity since the onset?
  • What things make the symptoms better or worse?
  • What type of work do you perform?
  • What hobbies or household activities do you regularly perform?
  • What is the worst your pain gets throughout the day?
  • What activities throughout your day make your pain worse?

One of our board-certified physical therapists will perform a thorough assessment at your evaluation, testing: movement, range of motion, joint mobility, strength, muscle activation, nerves, and functional movement. The therapist will also check your reflexes, do a medical screening (to rule out medical red flags and serious pathologies), and conduct special tests on your primary area of pain to determine what specifically may be involved and to rule out other conditions. The key to getting an accurate and correct diagnosis is reproduction of your pain during the evaluation. We want to find out if we change (or even decrease) your pain during the evaluation. This is the key! To provide a definitive diagnosis, your therapist may also collaborate with an orthopedist or other healthcare provider. The orthopedist may order further tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or electromyography (EMG) if medical red flags are present. After the evaluation, you will know exactly what your diagnosis is and what exactly is causing your pain. You will have plenty of time to ask questions to ensure that you fully understand what is going on. The next step, then, is to determine what is the best way to treat it.

Do you need an X-ray and MRI imaging for shoulder bursitis pain?

For most common orthopedic cases, imaging is not needed and the diagnosis can be made with a simple physical therapy evaluation. No need to waste thousands of dollars on unwarranted diagnostic imaging. We also have clinical tests which we can perform to help rule in and rule out pathologies that correlate to MRI findings (which is WAY cheaper than an MRI!). An expensive MRI may just tell us what we already know. Also, often times the positive findings found on x-rays, MRIs, and EMGs may not actually be the root cause of your pain. What does that mean? Many positive findings on an MRI are also found in asymptomatic (pain-free) individuals, so diagnostic imaging may not be able to tell us what is actually causing your pain. For example: many people have a herniated disc in their low back but do not have any low back pain. So if herniated discs can cause no pain, just because someone with low back pain has a herniated disc does not mean that is what’s causing their pain. The key is to find out if your clinical evaluation findings during your evaluation at Pursuit match the MRI findings. If so, then we can decide what is the best way to treat it.

How can a Physical Therapist treat it?

Your physical therapist will work with you to design a specific treatment program that will speed your recovery, including exercises and treatments that you can do at home. Physical therapy will help you return to your normal lifestyle and activities. The time it takes to heal the condition varies, but results can often be achieved in 2 to 8 weeks, when a proper stretching and strengthening program is implemented.

During the first 24 to 48 hours following your diagnosis, your physical therapist may advise you to:

  • Rest the area by avoiding lifting or reaching overhead, or any activity that causes pain.
  • Apply ice packs to the area for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 hours.
  • Consult with a physician for further services, such as medication or diagnostic tests.

Your physical therapist will work with you to:

Reduce Pain and Swelling. If repetitive activities have caused the shoulder bursitis, your physical therapist will help you understand how to avoid or modify the activities to allow healing to begin. Your physical therapist may use different types of treatments and technologies to control and reduce your pain and swelling, including ice, heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, taping, specific exercises, and hands-on therapy, such as specialized massage.

Improve Motion. Your physical therapist will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in the shoulder and arm. These might begin with “passive” motions that the physical therapist performs for you to gently move your shoulder joint, and progress to active exercises and stretches that you do yourself.

Improve Flexibility. Your physical therapist will determine if any shoulder, arm, chest, or neck muscles are tight, start helping you to stretch them, and teaching you how to stretch them.

Improve posture. If posture problems are found to be related to your condition, your physical therapist will work with you to help improve your posture to help alleviate your pain, and prevent future recurrence.

Improve Strength. Shoulder bursitis is often related to weak, injured, or uncoordinated shoulder muscles. Certain exercises will aid healing at each stage of recovery; your physical therapist will choose and teach you the correct exercises and equipment to use to steadily restore your strength and agility. These may include using cuff weights, stretch bands, and weight lifting equipment.

Improve Endurance. Regaining your muscular endurance in the shoulder is important after an injury. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises to improve your muscular endurance, so you can return to your normal activities. Cardio-exercise equipment may be used, such as upper-body ergometers, treadmills, or stationary bicycles.

Learn a Home Program. Your physical therapist will teach you strengthening and stretching exercises to perform at home. These exercises will be specific for your needs; if you do them as prescribed by your physical therapist, you can speed your recovery.

Return to Activities. Your physical therapist will discuss your activity goals with you and use them to set your work, sport, and home-life recovery goals. Your treatment program will help you reach your goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises, work retraining activities, and sport-specific techniques and drills to help you achieve your goals.

Speed Recovery Time. Your physical therapist is trained and experienced in choosing the best treatments and exercises to help you safely heal, return to your normal lifestyle, and reach your goals faster than you are likely to do on your own.

If Surgery Is Necessary

Surgery is not commonly required for shoulder bursitis. But if surgery is needed, you will follow a recovery program over several weeks, guided by your physical therapist. Your physical therapist will help you minimize pain, regain motion and strength, and return to normal activities in the safest and speediest manner possible.

“After at least three years of doctor-hopping […] looking for someone to alleviate my constant dizziness and neck pain, I finally found Dr. Miller. I have more energy and less pain, and have halved my dependence on painkillers. He shouldn’t be the last stop on your road to recovery, he should be the first.”

How long does it take for recovery?

Recovery time for shoulder bursitis pain depends on multiple factors:

  • The severity and chronicity of your pain
  • Whether your pain is an easy or complex case
  • If the root cause of your pain was solved or if it was missed (this is the key to getting a great recovery!)
  • How long you have been in pain for and when you need to be pain free by
  • Other therapies and treatments you have tried
  • Which medical professional(s) you saw prior to seeing us
  • How active you are in trying to resolve your pain
  • Which treatment approach is chosen and if it is proven to work for your pain

There are many factors that influence your recovery time and every patient’s recovery time is different. If you do nothing and don’t pursue treatment, it could gradually get better on its own, you could continue to have the same pain persist, or it could continue to get worse. As stated earlier, most acute cases may or may not resolve in 4-8 weeks. If you get expert treatment that solves the root cause of your pain, some cases resolve in 1-3 weeks! Then you can get back to sports, exercise, and your favorite activities without flare-ups and recurrences. Some of our patients are pain free in 1-3 visits and back to 100% in 2 weeks!

If it is a complex case with chronic pain, your recovery may take longer, but you can still get a good outcome. Some chronic cases can resolve as fast as 2 months but can take as long as 4-6 months. It varies with every patient because every case of shoulder bursitis pain is different. Every patient’s recovery varies depending on the factors listed above. After a thorough evaluation here at Pursuit Physical Therapy, you will know your exact timeline of recovery, your prognosis, and when you should reach your goals.

How much does it cost?

The average cost of care for a case of spine pain in the US is $1800-$6600. This high price is due to many factors: the over-inflated cost of healthcare, the over expensive cost of unwarranted imaging (x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs) that is not needed, over-utilization of care (which increases the number of visits needed to be treated, requiring multiple visits to different doctors and physical therapists for the same diagnosis), and getting billed for unnecessary and unproven treatments that you don’t even need. All of these factors increase cost and this is why healthcare is so expensive. We strive to end that unnecessary, expensive cycle. In fact, we are currently publishing our first-year data with the University of Central Florida that shows the cost-effectiveness of our treatment approach.

This year, the average cost of our care was shown to be $814-$1141. Some of our patients get even as low as $315 for the full treatment! So if you have a deductible of $3,000-$10,000 and you have to pay out of pocket for your treatment, we can save you lots of money.

Remember, every case of pain is different and not all shoulder bursitis pain is the same. It is hard to predict exactly how much your treatment is going to cost you. But after a thorough evaluation, we can tell you exactly what is causing your pain, how long it is going to take, what the best way to treat it will be, and exactly how much it is going to cost. We have no hidden fees, no co-pays, and no miscellaneous bills that you will be surprised by 3 months after you receive treatment. Your pain, your diagnosis, your goals, and what is best for you dictate your treatment and how much it will cost, and while it varies for every patient, treatment at Pursuit is still much more affordable than standard healthcare.

How long are sessions?

Our evaluations are always one-on-one with one of our board-certified specialists and 60-90 minutes long. We like to perform thorough evaluations so we can solve the root cause of your pain, identify all risk factors, and make sure that we do it right. After the evaluation, you will know your diagnosis, the root cause of why you have your pain and symptoms, your prognosis, an expected timeline of when you should see results, what the best way to treat your pain is, how much it will cost, and your expected recovery outcome. We want you to fully understand everything about your pain and injury. What is best for you and will get you the best outcome is what will dictate your care and treatment. There will be plenty of time for you to ask questions so we can make sure you fully understand why you have your pain and what the best way to treat it will be. After the evaluation is completed, all treatment sessions are 60 minutes going forward and still one-on-one with your physical therapist. You and your physical therapist will design a customized treatment plan that works for you and that will achieve your goals.

How can it be prevented?

Your physical therapist can recommend a home-exercise program to strengthen and stretch the muscles around your shoulder, arm, chest, and neck to help prevent future injury. These may include strength and flexibility exercises for the shoulder, arm, chest, neck, and core muscles.

To help prevent a recurrence of the injury, your physical therapist may advise you to:

Follow a consistent flexibility and strengthening exercise program, especially for the shoulder muscles, to maintain good physical conditioning, even in a sport’s off-season or after you retire from sports.
Always warm up before starting a sport or heavy physical activity.
Learn and maintain good posture.
Gradually increase any demanding activity, rather than suddenly increasing the activity amount or intensity. This includes household activities, office work, or athletics.
Learn and maintain correct posture.

What are next steps?

Getting started is simple. The first step, and the key to getting you pain free again, is to solve the root cause or your case of pain. Remember, not all pain is the same. Your pain is different than someone else’s pain, even though it may be in the same area. If you’re ready to get pain free, give us a call at (407) 494-8835 or fill out the form below. The next step is to schedule your evaluation so we can solve the root cause for you. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and we would love the opportunity to help you.

BECOMING PAINFREE  IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK

Step 1:

Call our expert team.

Step 2:

We’ll work with you to find and treat the root of your pain.

Step 3:

Get back to doing what you love.

Call us to schedule your appointment

(407) 494-8835
(407) 494-8835

Ask one of our Board Certified Specialists a question about your pain. Just fill out the form below.