Shoulder Bursitis

Raise your hand if you have shoulder bursitis. Ouch!

Acute shoulder pain makes up 16% of the injuries that physiotherapists see each month. On many occasions, people with shoulder pain are referred for imaging such as ultrasound or MRI. But did you know that more than 25% of shoulders WITHOUT pain, show shoulder abnormalities on imaging, namely, subacromial bursitis and rotator cuff tears.

Recent research has shown that the chance of seeing abnormalities on imaging, increases as we age. We have observed that 9.7% of 20-year-old pain-free shoulders show abnormalities, compared to 62% in the 80-year-old pain-free shoulder. This indicates that these abnormalities may just be signs of aging, like wrinkles on our face or greying hair. 

Because of how commonly we see these changes, and in the absence of a traumatic incident, we cannot specifically say that these findings on images are the cause of our shoulder pain. 

Then, what does cause pain in the shoulder?

Shoulders are highly mobile joints and subject to ALL different types of load. Occasionally, we unknowingly (or knowingly) overload our shoulder by lifting that heavy box overhead, returning to bowling after a laid back off-season or even that really long day at the computer. The result, is pain. Not because something is torn. Or pinched. Or inflamed. But just because the shoulder has not been PREPARED for that particular load.

So, how do we go about decreasing the pain?

We need to look at the types of load the shoulder can and cannot tolerate. Identify the movements that the shoulder is happy with and find the limit in range where the shoulder is challenged. From there, we can develop and progress exercises that will gradually expose the shoulder to increasing amounts of load, to the point where you can perform the previously painful task, without pain.

What tasks give you shoulder pain?

Come in and we can break down the movements. Find the loads that your shoulder is unhappy with and program an exercise regimen that will allow you to raise your hand overhead. Pain-free.

To book an appointment with Amy, or any of our friendly staff please call (08) 9274 1482 or click here.


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Midland Physio has been providing leading physiotherapy and allied health care services in Perth since 2002.