Shoulder bursitis, shoulder tendonitis and shoulder impingement are all terms for the same underlying condition that is the most common cause of shoulder pain. It occurs when the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder become pinched within the shoulder socket. The name for this condition is shoulder impingement. Over time, impingement causes the rotator cuff tendons to become inflamed and irritated, causing shoulder tendonitis. The pinching causes the small sacs within the shoulder joint (the bursa) to also become inflamed, thus causing shoulder bursitis.
In most cases, shoulder bursitis is the result of weakness of the shoulder muscles and their consequent inability to keep the shoulder joints in their correct positions during use of the joint. Shoulder tendonitis is an overuse injury that primarily affects individuals who have to raise their arms overhead and keep them there while working e.g. carpenters, construction workers. Athletes in sports requiring plenty of throwing or other overhead activity (e.g. serving in tennis) can also be victims of shoulder impingement.
Symptoms Of Shoulder Bursitis
In most cases, the individual affected by shoulder tendonitis will experience a consistent low level ache in the shoulder joint and may have trouble sleeping. The pain will be worse when performing any overhead activity, either at work or while playing a sport.
Some individuals with shoulder bursitis will also feel weakness in the shoulder and clicking or popping when they try to move the joint.
Treatment of shoulder impingement usually involves resting the joint and following an exercise program to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Your doctor may advise you to avoid overhead activity for a while in order to give the shoulder a chance to recover naturally. Pain killers may be used to help manage the pain during recovery.
In addition to the above options, you can reduce the pressure on the shoulder joint by wearing a shoulder support like one of those below. This will help to speed recovery from your shoulder tendonitis.