Before we can learn how to heal shoulder bursitis, it is important that we know what it is. Bursitis is a painful condition that affects small, fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles near joints. Bursitis occurs when the bags become inflamed. The most common places for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. But you may also have bursitis near the knee, the heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive movements. Treatment usually involves resting the affected joint and protecting it from further trauma. In most cases, the bursitis pain disappears within a few weeks with proper treatment, but recurrent bursitis flares are common.
If you have bursitis, the affected joint may:
- Feel pain or stiffness
- It hurts more when you move or press it.
- It looks bloated and red.
Tips on how to heal shoulder bursitis
- Anti-inflammatories: Aspirin or ibuprofen can reduce swelling and discomfort in the shoulder.
- Rest: reducing the movement of the shoulders can prevent the bursa from becoming more irritated and give you time to heal. A shoulder orthosis can help. Along with rest, some gentle shoulder exercises can prevent the joint from becoming rigid.
- Ice bags: When an injury or excessive use causes bursitis, an ice pack can help in the first 5 days. Apply ice every 15 to 20 minutes at 4 to 6-hour intervals to reduce pain and swelling.
- Steroid Injections: If symptoms persist, a doctor may inject corticosteroids in or around the pouch. This reduces swelling and discomfort. The effects may be temporary, but the treatment may be repeated several times.
- Surgery: When shoulder bursitis is prolonged and does not respond to treatment after 6 to 12 months, surgery may be suggested as a final option. The surgery can repair the damage and reduce the pressure in the bag.
- TENS Therapy: A TENS machine is a small, portable, battery-powered device that has cables connected to adhesive pads called electrodes. It provides pain relief by supplying a low-voltage electrical current to stimulate the nerves in that area through the skin. For example, in the case of shoulder bursitis, the TENS unit is applied to the painful area. The TENS unit is on and small electrical impulses are sent to the area, causing a tingling sensation. Electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals that go to the spinal cord and brain, which helps relieve pain and relax muscles. It is also believed that electrical impulses stimulate the production of endorphins, the body’s natural analgesics.
Learn more on how to heal shoulder bursitis here.