Non-surgical Treatments for Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder Bursitis Ooltewah, TN

Shoulder pain can happen for many reasons, but shoulder bursitis is the most common culprit. Also called rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis is the inflammation of the shoulder joints (rotator cuff tendons) and the shoulder cushion (bursa). This article focuses on the non-surgical methods of treating shoulder bursitis, including extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT).

Causes and symptoms of shoulder bursitis

The first sign of bursitis is swelling and irritation of the shoulder. Restriction of muscle and tendon movement causes friction and freezes the shoulder. Injuries, repeated stress on the shoulder joint, or chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are usually responsible. Common symptoms of shoulder bursitis include:

  • Sharp pains while moving the shoulder
  • Limited range of shoulder movement
  • Redness and tenderness around the shoulder
  • Pain when raising the arm, especially when lifting items

The pain usually worsens overnight if sleeping on the shoulder. The pain may also increase if the shoulder position is not changed for long periods. 

Non-surgical treatments of shoulder bursitis

Treating shoulder bursitis is simple and can be managed at home without surgery. Here are a few treatments that can provide relief.

Anti-inflammatory medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen can help relieve inflammation. They can be procured over the counter and can provide substantial, temporary relief from the pain and swelling caused by bursitis. Although acetaminophen is a pain reliever, it does not have the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs. Like every other medication, side effects may occur. Consult a doctor before using any medication to verify its safety and suitability.

Restraining the affected shoulder

The first point of action to take when shoulder pain happens is to lessen the inflammation. If moving in a certain way causes pain, stop moving the shoulder. An effective way to do this is by restraining the arm with a customized arm sling, even if the pain occurs only when raising the arm above the head. Restricting the arm will prevent movements that cause more injury. The sling will also keep the arm from moving while sleeping. When dealing with shoulder bursitis, rest and time are required for healing.


Ice is a good remedy for inflammatory-related conditions. If pain occurs abruptly overnight, place ice packs on the area to reduce the inflammation. Do not leave the ice pack on the shoulder for too long; instead rub the pack around the inflamed area. To avoid frostbite, do not exceed 15 to 20 minutes in a single ice session.

EPAT and physical therapy

EPAT helps the body initiate a rapid healing process. The therapy restores flexibility and strength to the shoulder muscles and speeds up the rate of recovery. Professional physical therapists can develop an individual treatment plan for the patient. The emphasis of the physical therapy treatment plan is to strengthen weak muscles and increase range of motion. A physical therapist can also suggest at-home stretches and exercises to aid rehabilitation and avoid further shoulder issues.

Corticosteroid injections

Cortisone, the active ingredient in corticosteroids, is a potent anti-inflammatory. Patients may be given a corticosteroid injection to relieve inflammation and swelling in the area of the impinged tendon. Since frequent injections of corticosteroids might cause tendon injury, getting more than two to three rounds is not recommended. Patients need to talk to their doctors to know if an injection is advisable.

Regenerative medicine

A doctor might recommend treatments in regenerative medicine, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections. These treatments aim to treat soft tissue issues, such as shoulder bursitis. Most clinical studies on the effectiveness of regenerative therapies in alleviating the symptoms of shoulder impingement have concluded that they are safe. While there is no evidence that PRP is superior to physical therapy in treating shoulder impingement, it is a complementary option to consider.

Regular workout and stretching

During the rehabilitation period after a shoulder injury, it is critical to do stretches to aid flexibility. Moderate to mild, gradual, and gentle stretches may help rehabilitate the shoulder joint and improve mobility and strength while reducing stiffness. Stiffness or frozen shoulder is preventable by stretching regularly, although it does not have to be a daily routine. Additionally, lifting small weights may strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and improve blood flow to the region.

The bottom line

Pain can significantly alter your lifestyle in a short time. To ensure full recovery from shoulder bursitis, consider adding exercise routines in addition to physical therapy sessions. Consult a medical expert to learn which exercises are suitable for shoulder bursitis.

Call (423) 424-1529 today to reach Spine & Joint Regenerative Medicine.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

Related Posts

Treating Knee Pain With Sports Rehabilitation

The knee consists of many components, making it highly susceptible to injury. Seeking professional treatment can greatly reduce pain and other symptoms while improving mobility, strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Common knee injuries include sprains, ligament tears, fractures, and dislocations. However, knee pain can arise from various health conditions and injuries, simple overuse, or…

How Tennis Elbow Is Treated

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that affects the tendons on the outside of the elbow. It can cause pain and tenderness on the outer part of your elbow when you perform certain activities. This article will review everything you need about tennis elbow and possible treatment options.Tennis elbow describes inflammation…

Medical Weight Loss And Regenerative Medicine

Medical weight loss and regenerative medicine are two things you should consider if you have struggled to lose weight and also want to restore your body to a more youthful state.Losing weight can be challenging for many people, despite fitness experts swearing you just need to consume fewer calories than your body needs daily. That…

Regenerative Medicine: What Is Nutritional IV Therapy?

Whether you are battling illness or a chronic condition or want to give your body that extra boost, consider nutritional IV therapy. By delivering nutrients directly to the bloodstream, this treatment offers the maximum benefit of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to keep you feeling and performing at your best. This…