10 Ways to Treat Shoulder Bursitis Pain

10 Ways to Treat Shoulder Bursitis Pain

What is shoulder bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa sac in your shoulder. When a bursa in your shoulder starts to become inflamed, it can negatively impact your ability to get through regular activities.

Shoulder bursitis, or impingement syndrome, is characterized by inflammation and redness between the top of the arm bone and the shoulder tip. Located between these bones are the tendons of the rotator cuff and the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that acts as a protective cushion for the tendons.

In individuals with impingement syndrome, the space between the bones becomes too narrow, leading to irritation of the tendons and bursa, which causes inflammation. This inflammation results in swelling of the tendons and bursa, further narrowing the space for movement. Consequently, the tendons and bursa get pinched between the bones every time they move, leading to Shoulder bursitis.

What causes shoulder bursitis?

Bursitis typically arises from injury or overuse, with infection being another potential cause.

 It is often linked with other issues such as arthritis, gout, tendonitis, diabetes, and thyroid disease.

Individuals with this condition may have a reduced amount of bone space due to the shape of their bones, and even minor thickening of tendons or bursa can result in noticeable symptoms.

What are the symptoms of shoulder bursitis?

Often there is an initial injury that sets off the inflammation. After that, the problem can spiral into worse conditions. This inflammation causes a thickening of the tendons and bursa. The thickening then takes up more space, pinching the tendons and bursa even more. This causes more inflammation and thickening of the tendons and bursa, and so on.

If you're suffering from shoulder bursitis, treatment often begins with helpful home remedies that can help relieve some of the pain and inflammation, allowing your case of shoulder bursitis to turn around more quickly. However, surgery or other medical interventions may be necessary if that does not solve the issue.

Resting the Shoulder Joint

If your shoulders start aching, the best thing you can do is give them some good rest. After all, a shoulder condition such as tendinitis or rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by many reasons. The key is not to overdo it because such stuff won't help in any way – instead, they can slow down the healing process of your shoulder injury and lead to stiffening, making you feel uncomfortable.

Be careful if you are on this kind of treatment, as early mobilization is important to make sure that there isn't inflammation or stiffness in the joint. Once these symptoms are gone, you need to start staying active with physical exercise, but you should be aware that there might be some limitations regarding the range of movements so pay close attention and don't try anything new if it makes you hurt!

Moist Heat

If you're suffering from shoulder bursitis, moist heat is a great way to hit the pain relief spot on. A hot shower, hot pack, steam towel, or herbal heating pad are just a few things you can use for relief. Studies have proven that moist heat is more efficient at penetrating deep into sore muscles to relieve tension and soothe through injury than the alternative: dry heat. Moist heat may be best for healing and decreasing painful symptoms, but remember that it's not recommended for those with sensitive skin conditions or open wounds - get in touch with your doctor before applying moisture to injured body parts!

Compression & Support

Shoulder braces help remind you to avoid extra movements that could, thanks to reasons we could mention (for example, inflammation), ruin your shoulder and make everything more painful. In addition, the compression of these braces will work to minimize swelling in the affected area, which is always a good thing when it comes to reducing pain around joints!

Exercises or Physical Therapy

The first thing you need to do after sustaining an injury is to visit a physical therapist. They will guide you through exercises or stretches to help your shoulder muscles recover from the minor trauma that caused your initial discomfort. Commonly occurring shoulder injuries include labrum tears and rotator cuff impingement, which can both be successfully treated with physical therapy.

Visiting a doctor or getting instant treatment as soon as pain occurs is usually unnecessary because it will only worsen the damage done to your body when not appropriately treated. Instead, physical therapy has been proven over time to be the most effective form of healing for a number of reasons: it allows patients to regain movement in their joints and muscles quickly, reduces injuries caused by re-injury during rehabilitation, reduces costs associated with recovery and surgery, and doesn't take up much time so it's convenient!

Cold Therapy Tactics

Cold therapy is one of the standard treatments for muscle and joint injury. Yes, a cold therapy pack or another source numbs pain by interrupting the pain signal to the brain. Likewise, it also constricts the blood vessels in the affected area, which decreases swelling! One should use a cold pack for 20 minutes at a time. But give yourself plenty of breaks between icing sessions to prevent skin injury.

2. Heat and Cold Therapy

The implementation of cold therapy can be immensely advantageous for individuals experiencing inflammatory conditions, particularly in the initial phases of bursitis. This is due to its ability to alleviate inflammation and associated pain. However, to ensure optimal outcomes, it is recommended to follow a comprehensive icing protocol as follows:

    • To alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation, it is recommended to apply cold therapy directly to the affected area. In addition, a cold therapy pack wrapped in a towel can prevent skin damage.
    • Please allow the affected area to remain undisturbed for 15-20 minutes. It is important to note that this should not result in any additional discomfort or inflammation of the skin.
    •   Continue throughout the day, repeating it at least four times. 

      Applying cold therapy pack on the affected area for between 15 and 20 minutes intermittently throughout the first 24-hour period will help lessen inflammation before it can cause more problems.

      After the icing stage for at least 24hrs, it's recommended to start heating the region. This is done with the use of a heating pad or shower that is hot.

      1. Use a heating pad for the affected area or shower every day and night between 10 and 15 minutes. 
      2. Repeat this process for five consecutive days. 

      Lavender oil aromatherapy

      Lavender oil possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective remedy for alleviating shoulder bursitis pain. To utilize its therapeutic benefits, use a Sacksythyme Lavender Heating pad or add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath and soak in the lavender-infused water for approximately 30 minutes. Not only can this method assist with relieving shoulder bursitis pain, but it can also help ease tension in the neck and back while promoting mental relaxation.

      Topical Pain Creams

      There are a ton of topical pain creams on the market, so how do you know which cream will give you the relief you need from pain? First, cold/hot sensation creams interfere with your body's ability to register pain when applied to the affected area and penetrate through the skin.

      They either create a sensation of burning heat or cold. Other topical analgesic creams contain lidocaine, a numbing agent to help ease discomfort. Lastly, some topical pain relievers contain CBD because it has been shown to reduce inflammation - this is great for those who experience chronic aches and pains! However, whichever type you choose for your problem shoulder, please read through the directions thoroughly and check with your doctor in case it conflicts with any medications or behaves strangely with any other health condition you have before applying it directly to your skin.

      Treatment for More Severe Cases

      Corticosteroid Injections

      Cortisone injections are like a quick fix for pain, but they might not be that effective in the long run. This steroid medication is directly injected into the affected area of the shoulder and will decrease inflammation and pain, but many patients find great success with this treatment option; others do not. Talk to your doctor to determine if you're a candidate, or check out Side Effects.


      If an infection causes your bursitis, then you will need antibiotics. If a doctor examines the fluid within the bursa, they may take a small sample of it for testing to determine the exact type of infection - this kind of bursitis is known as septic bursitis. Then, your doctor may prescribe some antibiotics to help with the pain and prevent or clear infections. While antibiotics can do wonders for certain infections, it's important to continue taking them before the prescribed time. Without taking all of your antibiotics, you could allow bacteria from the bursa (or infection) to spread into your bloodstream, which would be dangerous!

      Anti-Inflammatory Medications

      Taking over-the-counter pain medication allows you to function normally, no matter the injury. However, be sure that you're following your physician's recommendations and taking them at the prescribed time. Always talk to your doctor before taking new medications to verify their safety and effectiveness for your medical needs.


      Because surgical treatment is not typically needed for tendon tendinitis, consider other treatments before resorting to such a drastic measure. For example, ice, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy are proven treatments that have been used on patients experiencing bursitis. In addition, shoulder surgery can be a very effective path for patients with more severe cases of bursitis.

      What to Expect from Treatment

      Anybody whose shoulder becomes inflamed might have experienced a range of symptoms like severe pain, swelling, and sometimes decreased range of motion. Sometimes these symptoms may not go away with home remedies or basic treatment. In these instances, the best treatment is surgery, but medication or injections are also options. Discuss your concerns with your physician to determine which action is right for you!

      Have You Had Enough of Shoulder Bursitis?

      Shoulder Bursitis is a painful and debilitating inflammatory condition that significantly limits shoulder and arm mobility. Fortunately, non-surgical therapies can bring fast and effective relief for most individuals. Consulting with a healthcare provider can help manage your symptoms and prevent future episodes of bursitis. Given the various contributing factors to Shoulder Bursitis, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional to address your shoulder pain.

      "This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your physician to determine a treatment plan that is right for you."

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