Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that are located in joints throughout the body, including the shoulder. They act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues, and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.
Sometimes, excessive use of the shoulder leads to inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the rotator cuff and part of the shoulder blade known as the acromion. The result is a condition known as subacromial bursitis. Bursitis often occurs in association with rotator cuff tendinitis. The many tissues in the shoulder can become inflamed and painful. Many daily activities, such as combing your hair or getting dressed, may become difficult.
Treatment for bursitis generally involves rest, altering your activities, and physical therapy to help you improve shoulder strength and flexibility. Common sense solutions such as avoiding overexertion or overdoing activities in which you normally do not participate can help to prevent shoulder pain. Surgery may be required to resolve some shoulder problems; however, 90 percent of patients with shoulder pain will respond to simple treatment methods such as altering activities, rest, exercise, and medication.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and pain. Your doctor may also recommend injections of numbing medicines or steroids to relieve pain.