Shoulder bursitis occurs when the bursa found around the shoulder joint becomes inflamed. Naturally, dull pain, stiffness and swelling are present at the site. The pain experienced tends to worsen upon movement or pressure. Common treatments for shoulder bursitis include: administration of anti-inflammatory drugs, local injection of corticosteroid, and physical therapy in order to strengthen the muscles in the affected area.
A Quick Look at Bursitis
In the human body, there are more than 150 bursae — small fluid-filled sacs around bone joints in order to reduce friction between tissues during movement. A bursa may get inflamed because of injury brought about by repetitive pressure or usage. Sometimes it is possible for bursitis to be caused by an infection, although this is uncommon.
Any bursa in the body may get inflamed, but the bursa of the knee, hips, elbows and shoulders tends to suffer from it more as these joints tend to be used more often. Shoulder bursitis may develop when injury to the muscles, tendons and rotator cuffs in the area occurs due to repetitive use. The condition may also be brought about by injuries from lifting or falling.
Medical Treatments for Bursitis
The administration of pain reliving and anti-inflammatory medications helps in dealing with the pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected shoulder. Resting and application of ice are recommended by doctors too. There are times when aspiration of the fluid in the inflamed bursa may have to be done to reduce the symptoms, and occasionally for laboratory testing. The procedure is performed using a needle and syringe.
It’s possible for someone with shoulder bursitis to be recommended to undergo physical therapy. This can be beneficial especially when the condition is accompanied by frozen shoulder. Physical therapy helps in strengthening the muscles in the shoulder area as well as regaining full range of motion.
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible for shoulder bursitis to be caused by an infection although it’s not very common. After identifying the microbes responsible for the infection, a doctor will administer antibiotic therapy which could be done orally or intravenously. At times, the surgical removal of the infected bursa (bursectomy) may have to be carried out.
Natural Bursitis Remedies
The following are some of the most effective remedies for shoulder bursitis that you may try at home when suffering from the painful condition:
- Ice the affected area. As soon as the initial symptoms of shoulder bursitis surface, apply ice to decrease the blood flow and reduce inflammation. Remember to place ice cubes in a towel before applying to protect your skin. Icing should be done for at least 20 minutes and up to 4 times daily.
- Apply heat. Once the swelling has lessened a couple of days after getting the shoulder joint condition, heating up the area is recommended. This helps increase blood flow, relieve stiffness and remove excess fluids. If you don’t have a heating pad at home, simply do this: dip a small towel in warm water, wring out the excess, fold and place on the area.
- Place castor oil pack. One of the most effective home remedies for shoulder bursitis is castor oil usually employed for treating gastrointestinal problems and arthritis. Put some castor oil on a small cloth and place it on the affected shoulder. Apply a heating pad or a folded towel dipped in warm water and wringed.
- Drink ginger tea. Ginger is an herb known to have potent pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking ginger tea allows you to attain relief from shoulder pain and inflammation due to bursitis. You may also get your hands on powdered ginger in capsules at your local health food store.
- Take white willow bark. This herb has been used by traditional healers for so many years already for treating pain because it has aspirin-like properties. Step foot at your trusted health food store and purchase white willow bark extract to help relieve shoulder bursitis pain. Take 500 mg of the extract 1 to 2 times daily.
- Move the affected joint. Once the pain is no longer too intense as to keep you from moving your shoulder, try exercising the area to regain its full range of motion. One very good exercise is the so-called pendulum swing. Bend at the waist and lean against a table using your good arm. Gently swing the affected arm back and forth.