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Tendonitis and Bursitis of the Shoulder Area

If you are experiencing Tendinitis or Bursitis it means that you have inflammation of tendon, and it can be an extremely painful condition. In this article, three major types of Tendinitis will be discussed and some treatment methods will be explained. You will want to treat the condition as soon as possible to eliminate the pain and return to normal activity.

Tendonitis and Bursitis are defined as inflammation of a tendon (tendon attaches muscle to bone) or bursa (bursa is a fluid filled sac of synovial fluid) respectively.

In this section we will discuss tendonitis and bursitis of the shoulder area.

There are 3 major types of tendonitis:
1.    Degenerative tendonitis – most common cause of shoulder pain constituting 90% of non-traumatic painful disabilities.  Tendonitis is seen in people that work with hands at or above shoulder height which places a greater load upon the shoulders.  This sustained position causes decreased blood flow to the rotator cuff and compresses the tendon.  In the 5th decade of life many rotator cuffs pull away from their site of insertion with the cuff showing signs of thinning.  This thinning and degeneration are most noted in the critical zone area.
2.    Traumatic tendonitis – Most often affects young individuals (20-40).  Related to sport injuries or if a sudden load is taken by the shoulder.  Any of the rotator cuff muscles can be affected. 
3.    Calcific tendonitis – hyaline degeneration of the collagen tendon.  The debris consists of calcium salts. On x-ray you will see a shadow being casted on the film.

Bursitis usually has two major mechanisms of injury:
1.    Vigorous activity on untrained or unprepared muscle ( i.e. shovelling of snow)
2.    Sudden pull down on arm ( i.e. holding a heavy weight and the other person lets go)

The patient usually is in acute pain – more than with tendonitis.   All movements with bursitis are very restricted and painful.  The patient usually holds their arm across their chest as if it were in a sling.  The acute phase of bursitis may be improved by 50% within 48 hours if treated correctly.  Bursitis is usually fully resolved over 1-2 weeks.

Your Chiropractor will perform a thorough history and examination including orthopaedic, neurological testing and diagnostic radiography to determine the true cause of your shoulder pain.  Then they will develop a specific plan of management tailored to your case.


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