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Shoulder Pain? Treat It With These 6 Simple Cures

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Bursitis of the shoulder is an annoying condition that usually occurs after strain on the area or due to arthritis inflammation. Find out how to cure it in the 6 steps listed below.

Shoulder pain is a common occurrence that affects millions of people each year. Shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including pulled muscles, tendonitis, bursitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

If shoulder pain was caused by repetitive motion, over-exercising, or too much pressure on the area, bursitis is probably the reason your shoulder is sore. Bursitis is simply the inflammation of the bursa sac around the shoulder joint. After repetitive use, and sometimes due to excessive inflammation in the body, the sac fills with additional fluid, which can lead to swelling, pain, and redness in the area.

While similar to tendonitis, bursitis is different, because it affects a different part of the shoulder. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, while bursitis is inflammation of the cushion between joints.

You can get bursitis in nearly any joint, but the most common areas include the shoulder, knees, elbows, and hips. Since bursitis is typically a mild condition, treating it is simple. The following 6 home treatment methods are effective at healing bursitis and can also help prevent it from forming in the first place.


Rest is the first method of treatment for shoulder bursitis. Unless bursitis is caused by arthritis or simple inflammation, over-exertion is usually the cause. Simply resting the shoulder will help your body heal faster. If shoulder pain is extreme, you can try placing your arm in a sling to help hold it still during the recovery process. With rest, you should find that the pain recedes within a few days. Avoid activities that use the shoulder area. 

Activities to Avoid
  • Heavy lifting
  • Raising your arms above your head
  • Throwing
  • Moving your arm across your body
  • Sleeping on the sore shoulder

Cold and Heat Packs

Some bursitis sufferers find that alternating between cold and heat packs can help. Ice acts as a constricting mechanism that can reduce inflammation. A heating pad can help warm the area, reducing pain and stimulating the body to heal itself. Hold an ice pack over the sore area for about 10 minutes at a time. Hold a heating pad over the area for the same amount of time. Alternate for a period of one hour, or until the pain subsides. If the cold or heat packs make the pain worse, discontinue use.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications can be helpful for relieving the pain of bursitis. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are both beneficial medications that are designed to reduce pain and inflammation. If your pain is not resolved with over-the-counter products, speak to your doctor about obtaining a stronger painkiller until the pain subsides.


You may not want to exercise when facing bursitis, but resting a shoulder for more than a day or two at a time can actually cause long-term problems. You should keep the joint mobile with gentle, regular exercises. Not exercising will make the joint stiffer, which can lead to worse pain and shoulder atrophy. Before starting any exercise program for bursitis, consult with your doctor to ensure the exercises you are attempting will not aggravate your bursitis. According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, exercise can be as effective surgery to any damage to the rotator cuff and surrounding tendons. Stretching exercises can help ease bursitis pain, while strengthening exercises can help strengthen the area, making it less likely you will have an injury in the future.

Stretching Exercises

Scapular active range of motion: While standing, shrug your shoulders and hold the position for 5 seconds. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds. Pull your shoulders down and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat the process 10 times.

Flexion: Stand and hold a stick in both hands, palms down. Lift your arms over your head. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower your hands. Repeat 10 times. 

Extension: Stand and hold a stick in both hands behind your back. Stretch your arms behind you as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat the exercise 10 times.

Scaption: Stand with arms straight at your sides. Raise your arms to eye level. Rotate your arms and point your thumbs to the ceiling. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower your arms slowly. Do 15 reps.

Strengthening Exercises

Lying abduction: Lie on your stomach on a bed or another surface off of the ground. Hang the injured shoulder off of the side of the bed holding a 2-10 pound weight (use the weight that is not painful to lift). Slowly raise your arm to shoulder level, keeping your elbow straight. Do 2 sets of 10.

Lying rotation: Lie on your back. Bend your injured elbow to a 90-degree angle. Slowly rotate your arm so that your hand reaches back as far as possible, then reach forward until your hand is lying flat on the ground. Do 2 sets of 20.

Standing row: Tie an exercise band to a doorknob. Hold the other end of the band in your hand with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Gently pull back on the band, keeping your elbow at an angle. Do 12 reps.

External rotation: Use the same band set up as in the previous exercise. Hold your elbow at a 90-degree angle with your arm at shoulder level. Hold the band in your hand, and slowly rotate your shoulder until your hand is at the same level as your head. Do 12 reps.


Massage can be a helpful treatment therapy for bursitis. Massaging the area can help force the excess fluid back where it belongs, which could help ease the pain faster. If you are currently suffering from bursitis inflammation, visit a massage therapist who specializes in injury massage. A regular masseuse may not treat the area gently, which could make the problem worse.

Inflammation-Fighting Supplements

Can supplements help heal and prevent shoulder bursitis? Many studies have shown that it is quite possible. There are several supplements that help fight inflammation, leading to a reduction in pain and also reducing your chances of having bursa pain in the future. These supplements are particularly helpful if you have chronic bursitis or bursitis related to arthritis or another medical condition. Try adding these supplements to keep bursitis at bay:

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

MSM contains sulfur that is able to provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. One 2003 trial published in Alternative Medicine Review showed that supplementation with MSM lead to improved daily function and minor pain relief. Another 2006 study from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences showed that supplementation with MSM for 6 weeks was able to improve painful swelling and other symptoms of inflammation in the knee by 80 percent.


Curcumin is the ingredient in turmeric that turns the herb yellow. Numerous studies have shown that curcumin is amazing at fighting all-over inflammation in the body. A 2003 review of several curcumin trials and studies by the University of California showed that supplementing with curcumin was completely safe and that it was able to greatly reduce inflammation in the body.

Willow Bark

Willow bark is effective at reducing inflammation and healing joint pain. A 2-week placebo-controlled trial from the University of Tübingen in Germany indicated that willow bark was effective at managing minor joint pain without side effects. The pain was reduced by an average of 14 percent within just two weeks.

Indian Frankincense

Frankincense is not just a good-smelling incense, but it can also help fight inflammation and prevent bursitis from occurring. Frankincense can actually help relieve pain and inflammation in the body in multiple ways without side effects. A 1991 study from the University of Poona in India it was shown that study participants with osteoarthritis showed improved joint mobility and the ability to walk farther after taking frankincense supplements for 3 months.


Ginger is similar to both willow bark and curcumin. Ginger helps control inflammation throughout the entire body. Ginger regulates S-lipoxygenase and blocks COX-1 and COX-2, which all lead to inflammation and swelling. In a study of 56 patients from 1991, study participants who took ginger supplements had complete relief from minor pain and swelling in over 75 percent of cases within 3 months of taking the supplements. Generally, ginger does not have side effects, except that a few patients reported additional heartburn after supplementing with ginger.

Healing Shoulder Bursitis at Home

Most cases of shoulder bursitis are mild and can be easily treated using the above methods. Within just a few days, you can restore full function and mobility to the area. The exercises provided can help strengthen the muscles around the bursa, protecting it from additional damage. Supplementing with anti-inflammatory supplements can also help prevent bursitis from occurring, and may also help benefit other areas of the body, such as an overall decrease inflammation, which can lead to a host of health problems.

Although bursitis is one of the mildest health conditions, the pain that it causes can interfere with daily life. Take care of your shoulder when pain is mild and you won’t have to face drastic healing methods later- like surgery or steroid injections.





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