Shoulder Bursitis: What To Watch Out For

Shoulder Bursitis: What To Watch Out For

So, you’ve been diagnosed with shoulder bursitis…now what?

That stiffness and achiness that comes with this diagnosis certainly has a way of meddling in daily activities. Reaching overhead, carrying heavy bags or loads– forget it! Shoulder pain is never welcome, but is also a nuisance. 

The good news is that most instances of shoulder bursitis are completely treatable with a little patience, diligence, and conservative care. If you’ve been recently diagnosed with shoulder bursitis, have hope. In this article, we cover what is bursitis, the levels of severity, and how to best treat it to resume a comfortable way of life.

What Is Shoulder Bursitis?

First things first: let’s get familiar with what a “bursae” is. A bursae is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion for the tendons and muscles near your joints. These little protective powerhouses are present in all of our joints, but of course when we’re talking about shoulder bursitis, we’re concerned with the bursae in the shoulder. 

When the bursae becomes inflamed, pain, discomfort, achiness, and stiffness begin to set in. Aside from the pain, you may notice some increased swelling and redness around the area. Perhaps it is sensitive to the touch as well.

Levels Of Severity 

So, how do the bursae become inflamed? Shoulder bursitis is usually caused by overuse, also referred to as chronic bursitis. Maybe you have a physical job that requires frequent heavy lifting or you started an intense workout routine. Whatever it is, if you’re overusing the joint, eventually you’ll find your breaking point. It’s also worth noting that our shoulders and joints also become more susceptible to injury as we age.

There are more serious instances of shoulder bursitis as well. If your shoulder pain and forthcoming bursitis diagnosis come on suddenly from a traumatic event, seek immediate medical care and treatment. The same goes for instances of infected bursitis: a less common, but more serious form of shoulder bursitis. If the bursae become infected (usually by a cut, puncture, or insect bite), medical intervention may be needed.

For shoulder bursitis of any severity, it’s highly recommended to seek treatment as early as possible. Even in more mild cases, the longer you put off healing, the more you could be compromising your long-term shoulder health. Flare-ups after healing tend to occur more frequently in those who delay treatment; don’t put yourself in this position. Future you will thank you for taking action early!

Treatment Options And Approaches

The good news for you: shoulder bursitis tends to respond well to conservative care, with a little patience and diligence.  Of course, we recommend working with a medical professional to oversee your healing process, but the following suggestions are good starting points you can use at home.


Whether you have a bag of ice or prefer slapping a bag of frozen peas on an injury site, ice can help to cut down on inflammation in your bursae. Ice in intervals of around 15 minutes, making sure to place a barrier (like a towel) between the ice and the skin to prevent any painful burning of the skin. 


This one sounds simple in nature but can be more difficult in execution. After all, we use our arms and shoulders a great deal throughout the day! If you’ve been diagnosed with shoulder bursitis, take extra care to rest this joint as much as you can. Sometimes, it’s helpful to use an arm sling– more as a signal or reminder to yourself that you’re actively trying to refrain from using that particular shoulder. 

Gentle Range Of Motion Movements

Rest is important, but don’t rest too much! It’s important to move your shoulder joint some, to encourage range of motion. We don’t mean working out or strength training either— we’re talking about introducing healing movement in small doses to your affected joint.

A great, gentle range of motion exercise is a pendulum move. To do this, bend gently at the waist while engaging your core and keeping your back flat. Let one arm hang down, and gently swing it forward and back 2-3 times. Pause, and repeat the exercises with the same arm side-to-side. Repeat these swings on the other arm. 

The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care For Shoulder Bursitis

Another natural way to stay on top of your shoulder health is with consistent chiropractic care. Your chiropractor can help to properly diagnose your shoulder bursitis, the level of severity, and put together a customized treatment plan specific to your condition.

Gentle adjustments of the spine, neck, and extremities help to decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, and ultimately allow your entire body to relax and allow actual healing to take place. By working consistent chiropractic care into your rehabilitation routine, you could cut down on your healing time and increase your overall quality of life. That’s a huge win-win. Your practitioner can also help you work in appropriate at-home exercises to accelerate the healing process outside of office hours. 

Chiropractic care could make the difference in your healing timeline– for the better.  Schedule an appointment online or call us today. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.