Shoulder pain frequently brings patients to Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine seeking relief. While there are several causes of shoulder pain and restricted mobility, one of the most common is shoulder bursitis. If you are troubled by pain in your shoulder that is ongoing and interferes with your daily routine, it is time to contact our skilled physiatrists who specialize in the nonsurgical diagnosis and treatment of joint pain and dysfunction without surgery.

What is bursitis?

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that serves to decrease friction and irritation in the joints and elsewhere in the body. Under normal circumstances, the six bursae in each shoulder help 

our shoulder joints move smoothly and painlessly by cushioning adjacent bones, tendons and muscles. If bursae become inflamed, however, patients experience swelling, pain, and impaired mobility. That’s when they come to our offices for expert medical assistance.

Risk Factors for Bursitis

A number of factors, including the following, may predispose patients to bursitis: 

  • Aging that often leads to arthritis and/or muscle and tendon weakening
  • Pre-existing medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or diabetes
  • Genetic muscle weakness or deformity affecting the spacing of bones 
  • Instability of the shoulder joint (glenohumeral instability)
  • Calcium deposits in the region
  • Previous injuries, such as torn rotator cuff
  • Having occupations that require repetitive motion of the shoulder joint, such as being a painter, mover, carpet layer, or landscaper 
  • Engaging in activities that strain the shoulder joint, such as gardening, reaching above the head to shelve, clean, reorganize, or hang high fixtures
  • Playing certain musical instruments (e.g. violin, drums, saxophone)
  • Playing certain sports (e.g. baseball, football, tennis, swimming, snowboarding) 

Causes of Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis has two primary causes: trauma or repetitive stress. You can develop shoulder bursitis due to a car accident, a fall in which your upper body is impacted, through overexertion, or due to repeatedly putting pressure on your shoulder joint, creating impingement on a ligament. In some cases, shoulder bursitis may occur as a result of an infection after an injury, in which case it is more serious.

Symptoms of Shoulder Bursitis

Patients with shoulder bursitis typically experience the following symptoms:

  • Aches and stiffness in the affected shoulder
  • Increased pain during movement of the joint 
  • Soreness if pressure is applied to the site
  • Redness and swelling at the joint
  • Difficulty doing simple chores or hygiene tasks (e.g. sweeping, shampooing one’s hair)
  • Trouble sleeping or interrupted sleep due to increased pain when turning over
  • Inability to work depending on your occupation
  • Inability to perform your normal exercise routine 
  • Inability to engage in your regular sports activities

For immediate treatment, before diagnosis, we recommend resting the shoulder and protecting it from further trauma. Icing, over-the-counter painkillers, and compressions may help to provide some relief before you consult with us.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Bursitis

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we have a well-earned reputation as fine diagnosticians. Depending on your medical history, what we discover during our physical examination, and the specific symptoms you present, we may use one or more of the following methods to diagnose the origin of your shoulder pain:

  • Imaging tests, such as  X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasound
  • Ultrasound-Guided Injections into musculoskeletal tissue to show us precisely where your pain originates 
  • Electromyography (EMG) & nerve conduction studies to detect any neurological damage

Once we have a clear understanding of the nature and scope of your problem, we will determine what the most effective nonsurgical treatment will be. Because we always work holistically, we will take your own personal preferences into account.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Bursitis at L.I. Spine Rehabilitation Medicine

Our doctors are focused, first and foremost, on alleviating your pain and restoring your ability to use your shoulder normally. Because we are well-trained in both traditional and complementary medicine, we are able to provide you with a broad range of treatment options. Much of the time, we find that using a combination of treatment methods works best to bring the fastest, most long-lasting results.

You should be aware that although bursitis pain, with proper treatment, almost always goes away within a few weeks, recurrent flare-ups may occur. We will take steps to strengthen your muscles and tendons to avoid recurrence by training you to use your shoulder carefully, without overexertion.

Effective treatments for Shoulder Bursitis include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to promote healing
  • Physical therapy, including electrical stimulation, to restore strength and range of motion
  • Ultrasound-guided injections of a corticosteroid and analgesics to relieve pain and inflammation directly at the source
  • PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) therapy which, in addition to treating pain and inflammation, increases blood flow to your cells to promote more rapid healing

You will find our doctors and other staff members welcoming and responsive. All of the treatments we use for shoulder bursitis are administered with personal concern and a genuine desire to help you heal.

Contact Our Dedicated Professional Team Today

Whether you have just injured your shoulder or have been coping with pain and mobility issues for weeks or even months, now is the time to get an accurate diagnosis of the problem. Once you get in touch with the talented professionals at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we will find the right therapies to help you return to your best self.