What is shoulder bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis describes inflammation of one of the bursas in your shoulder.

What is a bursa?

A bursa is a small sac of cushioning that sits in areas of significant movement, such as near our joints. A bursa is designed to minimise rubbing or wear and tear and will often be between a bone and a tendon, or between 2 tendons in the body.


How does a bursa turn into bursitis?

The main 2 causes are:

1) Trauma or an external force, where a once off force irritates the bursa, causing bursitis. This type of injury often heals relatively quickly, but can lead to a longer-term problem.


2) Poor mechanics around the joint and bursa, such as weak or tight muscles, scar tissue or poor posture, which means the bursa doesn't have as much room as it would like, and as it gets 'squashed', it becomes irritated.

How long does it take to recover from bursitis?

This depends on the cause of the problem. If a sudden trauma has caused the bursitis, then you may be able to recovery within a couple of weeks. For the shoulder pain that started gradually, it's more likely you've developed some biomechanics and postural issues, and your recovery may take 1-3 months, or even longer.


The longer you ignore it, the longer it takes to get better!

Why does bursitis take so long to get better?

When you have pain in your shoulder, you'll start compensating, trying to rest your shoulder, and protecting it. You may not even realise you're doing it. As you use the shoulder less, and protect it more, the muscles become weaker, and tighter, which aggravates the bursa even more. Once you get the right advice, it takes time for your body to 're-learn' the correct position, and re-strengthen in all the right areas.


Can it be 'fixed'?

Yes! Some of our clients come in saying they have bursitis in their shoulder, and it's been there for 3 years. If you DON'T seek treatment, and follow the correct rehabilitation exercises, then you CAN have bursitis for a long period of time, but it doesn't mean you have to have this problem long term.


What can I do to recover from bursitis?

PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN HELP! We can diagnose your injury, and get you on track for recovery.


We will provide treatment to manage the tightness, weakness and biomechanics problems, as well as teach you the correct way to strengthen your shoulder, so you won't have to deal with shoulder pain long term.


Treatment may include massage, dry needling, taping, movement training, strength exercises, stretches and joint mobility exercises.


If you think you have bursitis, don't wait any longer. Book in to see one of our experienced physiotherapists below.



Aspire Physiotherapy

18 Partridge St Glenelg

8376 8816

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