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What is bursitis:

Subacromial bursitis is an inflamed bursa in your shoulder joint, it is a common cause of shoulder pain.
There are bursae all over your body, a bursa is a sac that is filled with liquid that can be found between tissues (bone, skin, tendons and muscle). Because of that fluid the bursa can be used as a cushion to decrease the friction and the irritation between the tissues that move between each other. When the bursae is not irritated, joints move smoothly and painlessly. But when it becomes inflamed and swollen, this becomes a bursitis and you will likely experience pain.


Patients will typically experience pain at the shoulder joint with activities that involve overhead movement, lifting, when playing sports, or when they are lying sideways. There may also be limited range of motion due to pain and stiffness. Sometimes pain can radiate down to the arm.


There are many causes for subacromial bursitis, including chronic irritation of the bursa typically due to muscular dysfunction or weakness of the rotator cuff, trauma, impingement (squashed) of muscle tendons, sub-optimal shoulder mobility and positioning due to poor posture or poor shoulder-blade positioning, or instability of the shoulder joint.


Physiotherapy treatment typically involve gradual range of motion and strengthening program to restore function of the shoulder, and reduce irritation of the bursa. Depending on the individual, treatment may also include exercises to improve posture and movement pattern of the shoulder blade, because they are essential for optimal shoulder mobility and control. Patients with bursitis are often suggested a cortisone injection to the shoulder. Such injections may provide effective pain relief, allowing you to move the shoulder better, but they do not address the root cause of the problem. It is vital to address all the contributing factors in order to achieve long term recovery.

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