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Shoulder Pain and Bursitis Do's and Dont's

If you have a shoulder bursitis it is often creates pain radiating into the side of the shoulder. This can be the result of over head activities like tennis, swimming and barbell work at the gym. Doing chores in the garden like pruning over head can also irritate a bursae as can gym workouts with repeated lateral arm movements. Trying to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger for the summer can be one way to create a bursitis but some of us are just unlucky and develop it from non repetitive movements like reaching into the back seat of the car. The bursae is a shock absorber but it does have limits. If continually loaded it can become irritated and can swell and this will be indicated by pain usually in the distribution of a short sleeve t shirt sleeve. Other indicators of an angry and swollen bursae is pain occurring when lying on the affected shoulder while in bed. Ladies often have trouble reaching behind when putting the bra on or combing their hair, while boys often complain of pain while taking their jumpers off or reaching back to put their suit jackets on.

When you develop a bursitis it may or may not develop into more serious pathology so it is important to get a diagnostic ultrasound to get it definitively diagnosed and treated.

Things not to do when you think you have a bursae are:

  • Don't sleep on the affected or sore side

  • Don't start doing rotator cuff external rotation exercises aka turning your hand away from your body under band or cable resistance

  • Don't do any movements over head

  • Don't do bench press or pushups

  • Don't start swimming

Things to do are:

  • Cease aggravating movements above shoulder height

  • Seek help from your Physio or GP to get a diagnosis

  • Get a ultrasound from a radiologist

  • Follow through with treatment and repeat visits to the physio to make your shoulder is bullet proof

The video above shows some good exercises that will help maintain muscle activation in a shoulder while a bursitis is treated and also help gently massage a bursitis that is inflamed. Remember if your shoulder doesn't get better within a two weeks seek medical advice.

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