Shoulder Bursitis -By Dr. (osteo) Sam Morgan

Shoulder Bursitis -By Dr. (osteo) Sam Morgan

Shoulder Injuries… Who needs them!

At Freshwater Osteopathy Clinic we see various different shoulder injuries, some pinch, some nag, some ache like Cass’ heart does for the Honey badger, some are avoidable (maybe you shouldn’t have done cart wheels for the first time since primary school P.E,) and some unavoidable, such as finding yourself in a strange predicament where doing cart wheels will win you a block of that new kettle chocolate.

But on a serious note, most shoulder problems start from our daily commitments to family, sporting teams and work.

The shoulder is a crucial component to our daily living, allowing us to reach the kids’ seatbelt in the back seat or hurriedly find the television remote under the couch because Law and Order just started… (dun dun). The shoulder is a ball and socket joint and in order to gain a greater understanding of the shoulder, a diagram can be useful:


Today I’ll be talking about ‘Sub-acromial Bursitis’


Let’s break-down the above diagram a little more… That purple looking bubble is a thin, lubricated cushion or bursa.These are located at many points in the body to decrease friction between tendons and bones.

The sub-acromial bursa sits just under the outer ridge bone of the shoulder, lubricating and separating the supraspinatus tendon from the bone (acromion) and other tendons or ligaments that are positioned above it.


Meet Barry The Bursa:


A little about Barry…

Barry likes his space, he values support and his friends describe him as very helpful and adaptable to change… But Barry is temperamental and can become flustered, he can’t stand the pressure of being in a tight squeeze and struggles to bounce back from injury.



Bursitis occurs when the bursa itself becomes inflamed and irritated. This tends to be due to repetitive minor trauma inducing activities, such as painting or throwing. But can also be caused by significant localised trauma, such as a fall onto the shoulder.




Our treatment methods work towards:

  • Providing traction, lending space for the bursa within the shoulder joint.
  • Soft tissue and passive movement of the shoulder to help decrease inflammation.
  • Dry needling and soft tissue techniques on rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder to correct any imbalances in the biomechanical positioning of shoulder structures.
  • Help instruct you through some posterior shoulder strengthening exercises.



  1. Ice and heat therapy, swapping between these two will allow the shoulder to flush out any old inflammatory cells hanging around the area, as well as encourage fresh and nutritious blood flow to the area, promoting recovery.
  2. Avoid raising arm above 90 degrees (or the causative activity), as this will decrease the space available within the shoulder, squishing the bursa and creating a prolonged sense of irritation.
  3. Traction exercises: Give the minimal space that the bursa has a bit of room to breathe! You can do this by holding something relatively heavy and allowing your arm to hang from your side, moving your arm in small circular motions.
  4. Postural mindfulness helps return the shoulder to it’s correct anatomical position, where it is most likely to succeed in recovery.



Barry can be a real pain in the shoulder! The time frame for recovery of bursitis is extremely variable due to frequent re-aggravation, but with the correct approach of care and rest we hope to have you pain-free within 3 months.

Happy Barry: