Shoulder Tendonitis and Bursitis

Shoulder Tendonitis and Bursitis are common inflammatory conditions that affects the shoulder on both a mild or severe level. The shoulder contains several large groups of muscles and accessory tendons that make shoulder movement possible. Within the shoulder are areas of bursa (which act as soft, cushiony pads) that assist in providing comfort and protection.

Shoulder Tendonitis occurs when the tendons of these muscles suddenly become inflamed from overwork or injury. Shoulder Bursitis occurs when the bursa (the fluid filled sacs that keep shoulder parts from rubbing together) become inflamed. When inflammation or injury occurs, the anatomy and function of the shoulder is altered and can result in significant pain, decreased motion, and eventually a loss of strength.


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In mild cases, Shoulder Tendonitis or Bursitis is felt as an ache or discomfort following intensive use. Performing prolonged overhead work for a day such as painting overhead are common causes of the initial irritation. Often the pain may last for several days before clearing up.

In more severe cases, the tendonitis or bursitis persists longer and becomes increasingly more problematic. If left untreated, the result can be significantly debilitating and in some cases, can lead to a more severe injury such as a rotator cuff tear or frozen shoulder.

Treatment for shoulder tendonitis/bursitis varies depending on the severity of the condition. For minor cases it is recommended the patient ice the shoulder several times a day and continue to perform their basic daily shoulder movements. It is advised that the person discontinue the activity that led to the problem immediately. If pain continues to last for several days, it is advised the patient seek medical care. Your physician may recommend anti-inflammatory medications or additional diagnostic testing to assist them in making the proper diagnosis. Rehabilitation is often prescribed for treatment, and a therapist can educate you on specific exercises while administering pain relieving modalities.

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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. You should always with your physician for the diagnosis and treatment of any injury or condition. The content on this web site is general in nature and not complete, and it should never be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes.

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