Shoulder bursitis is a very common issue that our constantly active shoulders face. It can be a repetitive strain injury or if you’ve had a fall or jerked your shoulder while trying to protect something else. However, as humans we don’t really seek help at the first inkling of an injury do we? We think that it’ll get better. Considering our busy lives these days, it gets to days, weeks or even months before we realise that it’s actually worse and we need some help. Now I’m not generalising here but most of the times this is the case. Wouldn’t it be great to know that it is a shoulder bursitis and get treatment for it immediately rather than waiting? So here are 3 alarming signs that can hopefully push you to either rule in or rule out shoulder bursitis:

shoulder pain due to shoulder bursitis

1. Shoulder pain with overhead movements is a big indicator of shoulder bursitis

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Are you getting shoulder pain with lifting your arms above your head?Like when you wash your hair or take your shirt off? Overhead movements put a lot of strain  on the bursa. A bursa is actually a fluid filled sac that exists in different parts of our body like the shoulder and the hip. Normally, it prevents friction between the bone and the tendon that attaches to the bone. Certain things can inflame the bursa and make it swell up which is exactly what shoulder bursitis is. Because the bursa is now swollen, it starts to affect your movement and cause pain everytime you were to stress it. As in overhead movements. The movement isn’t frictionless anymore. So if you’ve been feeling pain with overhead movements for a while and it’s not going away, Shoulder bursitis could be the reason.

2. Shoulder pain with reaching (to the side)is another indication of shoulder bursitis

Reaching or movement of the arm away from the body puts the shoulder joint in a vulnerable position. For example, reaching to pick up the shopping from the trunk of your car or to pick up something in front of you. Your muscles have to work hard to keep your the bones in your joint aligned and your bursa keeps the movement nice and smooth. If the bursa is inflamed because of shoulder bursitis, reaching will become difficult. It may even cause a sharp pain and a feeling like your arm is just going to drop. This happens because the tendons of the muscles literally get pinched between the swollen bursa and the bone while doing that movement if you have shoulder bursitis. Some people will also describe it as “pinching” pain.

3. Shoulder pain with sleeping on the side at night is also  stong indicator of shoulder bursitis

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Remember, pain is pain. It doesn’t have to be major to indicate that an injury. So even if you feel discomfort in the front part or top of your shoulder joint on lying on that side, it could be because of shoulder bursitis. Sleeping on that side of an inflamed bursa will put strain on it and cause pain. It usually will not like being on that side. This is more common after a heavy day at work. Because during the day you’re busy with activities, you may not realise or even ignore the shoulder pain. But you’ll certainly feel it at night when you’re trying to relax. Pain due to shoulder bursitis can be as intense as a sharp needle or it can initially start off as a discomfort and then progress is left untreated.

physiotherapy for shoulder bursitis

So I hope you now have a better understanding of how a joint with Shoulder bursitis might behave so you can get on top of it sooner. Because the longer you’re in pain, the longer your body will take to recover. This is true even if you have discomfort and not full fledged pain. So if the pain is not getting better on it’s own within 1-2 weeks, see a Physio or your GP to get further investigations done and get treated!