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Bursitis – the stubborn shoulder injury

Bursitis the ‘stubborn shoulder injury’

Over the past decade I have had thousands of patients from all over Perth attend my clinic in Melville for management of the painful condition known as shoulder bursitis.  It is an incredibly common problem in modern society however it is one of the most poorly medically managed conditions around.  Blanket treatments such as cortisone may help in some circumstances however in my experience they simply mask the underlying problem.

So what’s is it exactly?

During normal movement of the shoulder, the rotator cuff muscles slide through a relatively small space underneath the bone on top of the shoulder known as the acromion.  Directly below the acromion sits a ‘fat pad’ or bursea, which is designed to protect the tendon from rubbing directly on the bone.  If the shoulder is not moving correctly the rotator cuff muscles can start to squish the fat pad until it becomes inflamed…you have now developed the dreaded bursitis.

The good news…it VERY easy to fix with early intervention!

Symptoms such as pain are your bodies way of letting you know something isn’t right.  If you ignore the symptoms often the condition will get worsen until permanent damage is done. Symptoms of bursitis usually include pain/ache around the shoulder and on the outside of the upper arm, weakness of the shoulder, and pain with specific shoulder movements including reaching behind the back and over the head. Symptoms can develop gradually over several weeks or the condition can develop suddenly following an injury or a fall.

Many patients eventually seek medical advice and diligently go through the motion of doing their rotator cuff muscle strengthening exercises and have their local GP repeatedly jab cortisone injections into the shoulder only to find that the condition returns.   This is because in most cases, bursitis is a symptom…and NOT the problem. 

Contributing factors such as the following must be addressed;

  • Postural problems such as “round shoulders” as they can cause gradual narrowing of the space under the acromion.
  • Repetitive use of the shoulder can cause the muscles to become inflamed.
  • Poor movement patterns can cause intermittent narrowing of the space under the acromion.

Betterfx physiotherapists are experts in accurately diagnosing and managing shoulder problems. We are trained in the use real time ultrasound to take the guess work out of shoulder diagnosis and will address all aspects of your condition to ensure a complete recovery.

Betterfx Physiotherapy ‘We’ll keep you Moving’

Contact our Myaree Physiotherapists, Bibra Lake physios or Willetton physiotherapists HERE or book online using our free physio booking portal.