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What is the treatment for shoulder bursitis?

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Quick Answer

Treatment for shoulder bursitis can include oral or injected medications as well as surgery for cases where medication is ineffective, says Cedars-Sinai. Oral medications are usually nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. Doctors offer these remedies first, and if they do not work, a steroid injection into the affected area can also relieve the inflammation. The surgery involves removal of the bursa, some bone and any bone spurs to give the rotator cuff more room.

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Full Answer

Bursitis of the shoulder is an inflammation of the bursa, a sac filled with fluid that surrounds the shoulder joint, explains Cedars-Sinai. The usual cause is the movement of tendons within the bursa when the space is too tight. This can also irritate the tendons themselves so that they also become inflamed. The inflammation of the tendons and bursa further restricts the space and worsens the problem. This can cause the tendons to become pinched between bones as they move, a condition known as impingement.

Shoulder bursitis generally starts with a shoulder injury after which the inflammation of the shoulder grows steadily worse, says Cedars-Sinai. Many times this problem arises in people who naturally have smaller-than-normal spaces for their tendons so that any inflammation causes problems relatively quickly.

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