Shoulder Injuries – Bursitis

Dear Dr. Caraotta,

I recently went ice skating, fell and injured my right shoulder. I went to my medical doctor, he examined me, took x-rays, told me that it wasn’t broke, gave me medication and advised me that it should get better in a couple of days. It has been two weeks now, the pain lessened, but my shoulder is real stiff. I can’t lift my arm above my head when I try to fix my hair. Is there anything that I could do for this besides taking medication?

There are several things that could be going on with your shoulder. You may be suffering from a shoulder bursitis, adhesive capsulitis, or a rotator cuff syndrome. We will discuss these conditions over the next three weeks.

Lets first consider the shoulder bursitis. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, similar to the hip joint which allows for maximum range of motion. Surrounding the joint is a sack, which contains fluid to lubricate the joint, called the bursa. When a patient sustains an injury to the joint, it is not uncommon for the joint to have excessive swelling in the fluid sack, which exerts pressure on the exterior walls, producing pain and limiting motion. A physician examining a patient with bursitis will often be able to detect swelling, and is able to raise the patient’s arm throughout most of the range of motions, even though it may be painful. A

person with frozen shoulder has limited range of motion in the shoulder and a practitioner is not able to move a patients shoulder throughout the normal range. This is the major differentiating factor between a bursitis and a frozen shoulder.

If you have obtained a shoulder bursitis as the result of the fall, there are several Chiropractic-Orthopedic treatments that could be performed for this, including interferential current, ultrasound, ice and exercises. I suggest that you would obtain an examination to determine an accurate diagnosis then consider your treatment options.

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