Shoulder Bursitis (Subacromial Bursitis)
Bursae in the Shoulder
Bursae (plural for bursa) are flattened sacs of fluid that function as cushions between your bones and the muscles (deep bursae) or bones and tendons (superficial bursae) to reduce friction and allow your soft tissue to slide over bone easily during muscle contraction. They are lined with synovial cells that secret fluid, rich in protein and collagen, and act as the lubricant between areas in your body where friction (rubbing) is greatest.
In amongst your bones, muscles and tendons in the shoulder there are 8 bursae, the most of any single joint in your body. The major bursae in your shoulder include: the subscapular bursa, the subdeltoid bursa, the subacromial bursa, and the subcoracoid bursa. The subscapular bursa is located between the tendon of the subscapularis muscle and the shoulder joint capsule. The subcoracoid bursa sits between the coracoid process of the scapula and the shoulder joint capsule. The subacromial bursa is situated below the acromion process and above the greater tubercle of the humerus lessening the friction when you move your arm or raise it overhead. The subdeltoid bursa is located between the deltoid muscle and the shoulder joint cavity and is usually joined to the subacromial bursa.
When pressure or friction is too great, excess fluid can build up in the bursa sac causing swelling and inflammation. When a bursa becomes inflamed, moving the shoulder becomes very painful and movement can be difficult. Any actions that put pressure on the inflamed bursa can increase irritation and cause further inflammation and pain.
Your bursae play an important role in leading a healthy, active life. When the bursae are not irritated and working properly, your joints move smoothly and painlessly. However, when a bursa becomes swollen and inflamed, the condition is known as bursitis. As you know, when you suffer from bursitis you will experience pain during physical activity.
Understanding Shoulder Bursitis
Although all of the bursa in the shoulder can become inflamed due to trauma, infection or other conditions, the subacromial bursa is the most commonly inflamed. Frequently, bursitis in the subacromial bursa occurs with tendonitis in the supraspinatus tendon, although you can experience these conditions independently. Since the subacromial bursa and subdeltoid bursa are usually joined together, inflammation in one usually results in inflammation of the other. Overstraining, infection, abnormal bone growth or trauma in the rotator cuff can cause rubbing in your shoulder joint, inflaming the tissue in the area.
Even mild inflammation of your tendons or bursa can produce redness, swelling, and soreness. Failure to treat the inflammation can lead to bursitis and/or tendonitis. If this occurs, the bursa or tendon can become enlarged and the area between the acromion process and the top of the humerus (the subacromial space) may decrease causing the bursa or tendon to rub against the acromion.
If the space becomes too crowded, the acromion can begin to pinch the bursa or tendon (impingement) when your arm is raised in a forward reaching or overhead position causing further irritation and swelling.
This condition is often referred to as swimmer's shoulder, pitcher's shoulder, tennis shoulder, or shoulder impingement syndrome. This impingement can cause further inflammation in the bursa. In addition, degeneration of the tendon can occur which frequently results in a major rotator cuff strain and/or tear. If this continues, your pain will get worse and your tendon may split or completely tear away from the bone. Without prompt, proper treatment of bursitis with cold compression therapy and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ to heal the tissue, you may experience severe tissue damage and surgery may be necessary.
Bursitis in the shoulder is often due to overuse or repetitive actions common in athletes or workers who use frequent overhead arm movements such as throwing a ball, swinging a racquet, swimming, lifting weights, dusting high shelves, painting, or completing manual labor tasks. It can also be a result of something as simple as an awkward fall or trying to lift something up high with a weakened shoulder.
People most susceptible to shoulder bursitis are older than 40 years of age and/or have bone spurs on one of their shoulder bones. However, these injuries can also affect younger people who often partake in new or repetitive activities, are already injured, and/or have chronic weakness in their shoulder.
Treating Subacromial Bursitis
Relieving the symptoms of bursitis initially focuses on keeping the pressure off the bursa (i.e. carrying a backpack or purse on the opposite shoulder). Surgery may be required if your bursa irritation is a result of a bone formation problem, such as a hooked acromion causing impingement of the bursa. If your bursitis is caused by an infection (septic bursitis), the doctor will drain the bursa sac with a needle and prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
The most important factor in healing bursitis is resting your shoulder. This can be difficult when you have to carry on with daily activities, but resting your shoulder whenever you can is recommended. During your recovery you will probably have to modify or avoid the activities that stress your bursa until your pain and inflammation settle.
For non-infectious bursitis, the preliminary treatment starts with non-operative options such as Freezie Wrap® Cold Compression Therapy and Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™. Surgery to remove the inflamed bursa is normally not required for bursitis, however if you fail to see improvement with the conservative treatments, your physician may recommend surgery to remove the bursa completely. Although this removes the problem of an inflamed bursa, you are left with less cushioning in your rotator cuff which can lead to a host of other shoulder pain and problems.
Therapies that decrease swelling and inflammation, treat scar tissue, and restore strength and movement in your shoulder will help you beat bursitis and get rid of your shoulder pain.
Freezie Wrap® Cold Compression Therapy
To decrease inflammation and relieve the pain of rotator cuff bursitis doctor's recommend cold therapy.
Applying cold to your inflamed bursa when you are experiencing shoulder pain, decreases the swelling and redness around it. Cold therapy will also help to numb the pain in your subacromial bursa and surrounding tissue and help to control the inflammation. In addition, the deep cooling effect provided by the Shoulder Freezie Wrap® reduces tissue damage.
The Shoulder Freezie Wrap® uses a supercharged cooling gel pack, that chills in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs, giving you deep cold therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn.
The Shoulder Freezie Wrap® can be used to apply cold in a safe, convenient and effective way - and the gel pack is reusable. The gel pack sits gently over the inflamed bursa to reduce swelling and redness. Use it as needed throughout the day for ongoing treatment of your bursa.
The wrap is soft and adjustable so it fits your shoulder properly, without irritating the bursa, and allows you to adjust the compression. This is important when treating an inflamed bursa because too much pressure can cause you further pain. You control how much pressure the bursa receives so you can benefit from the compression to hold the cold where you need it, without increasing your pain.
Click here to learn more about Cold Compression Freezie Wraps®
Applying cold to your tender bursa and rotator cuff is the first step in treating your bursitis.Next, you can begin using the Inferno Wrap® to accelerate the healing process.
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
Once the inflammation of your bursitis has been reduced with the Freezie Wrap® cold compression therapy treatment it is time to start BFST® treatments with the Inferno Wrap®. Regular treatments with the Inferno Wrap® will improve blood flow and improve the elasticity of your surrounding soft tissue. Your body needs a fresh supply of blood to improve the health of your tissue and get your subacromial bursae and supraspinatus tendon back to normal.
Unfortunately, when you are suffering from bursitis in your subacromial bursa it is painful to lift your arm and use your shoulder. When you limit movement in your shoulder the blood flow is reduced, starving your tissue of the necessary oxygen and nutrients. The trick is to find a way to increase blood flow without causing pain and/or further inflaming the bursae. This is where Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) becomes a powerful tool.
BFST® compliments your body's natural healing process by promoting the flow of blood to your shoulder while you give it the rest it needs.
The Shoulder Inferno Wrap® uses a patented process to generate the same energy that is part of the sun's spectrum of light, the same energy that is necessary to all living things for optimum health. The energy emitted from the Energy Web® stimulates blood flow to your rotator cuff, more than your body would ever be able to generate on it's own, giving your body the boost it needs to continue the reconditioning process. The healing energy reaches deep into your subacromial bursa and supraspinatus tendon to speed tissue repair, whisk away the toxins and dead cells, and rejuvenate your rotator cuff tissues for improved elasticity.
Click here to learn more about how BFST® and Inferno Wraps® work.
With these easy home therapies, you will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your shoulder pain and range of motion.