Skip Navigation
Skip Main Content

Treating Shoulder Bursitis Symptoms in Nashville

Shoulder Bursitis Treatment

Shoulder bursitis, impingement syndrome, and rotator cuff tendonitis are different names used to describe the same problem. The shoulder bursa is a smooth layer between the rotator cuff tendons and the bones that lie on top of them. Anything that injures or irritates the rotator cuff will cause inflammation of the bursa, which is then called bursitis.

At Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics, Dr. Kaminsky and Dr. Baxter are experienced in diagnosing shoulder and rotator cuff bursitis symptoms. They're also passionate about utilizing the leading minimally-invasive shoulder pain treatment options. With an individualized approach and access to the latest technology in the orthopedic field, Dr. Kaminsky and Dr. Baxter are able to provide effective and long-term relief for shoulder bursitis with a personalized treatment plan for every unique patient.

If you're struggling with pain in your shoulder that may be due to bursitis, the experienced team of medical specialists at Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics can help. With our comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options, you can be rest assured that our surgeons will help you find the shoulder bursitis pain relief you deserve. Schedule an appointment with the best shoulder specialist Nashville, TN has to offer and get started on your road to recovery.

Request Appointment

Woman holding her shoulder in pain

Treatment for Shoulder Bursitis

Surgery & Physical Therapy for Shoulder Bursitis

At Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics, our treatment for shoulder bursitis is directed at reducing the inflammation in and around the shoulder and rotator cuff. Often times, nonsurgical options can achieve this goal:

  • Over-the-counter shoulder bursitis medication such as anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, naprosyn, Aleve, Advil, etc.) can help, as does Tylenol. To decrease pressure on the shoulder, avoid sleeping on the affected shoulder at night by putting a pillow under the injured shoulder or sleeping in a more sitting position.
  • You should also reduce activity with the shoulder and arm: limit the amount and weight of lifting with the arm, avoid overhead and outstretched positions of the arm, and use the arm predominantly at the waist level. Try to avoid reaching far behind you, such as reaching for a purse or briefcase in the backseat of the car.
  • Exercises for the shoulder can also help. Working directly with a physical therapist can be effective in strengthening both the larger muscles about the shoulder, neck and shoulder blade, in addition to the smaller muscles of the rotator cuff. Moist heat from a shower or bath can be beneficial, while ice can reduce swelling and inflammation. Use what feels best for your shoulder, although typically warm water helps the most.
  • A cortisone injection can be an effective way to treat bursitis. Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammation medication that is placed directly into the shoulder and around the rotator cuff. The injection itself should cause very little pain if performed by an experienced physician and can provide substantial relief of pain, although symptoms can reoccur.

When time and treatment do not work, particularly in the face of worsening pain, surgery may be an option. The decision for surgery is based on pain, and only a patient can answer when it is time to proceed.

Dr. Kaminsky and Dr. Baxter perform shoulder bursitis surgery arthroscopically using small holes around the shoulder and a scope about the size of a pen. Here’s how it works:

  • Small instruments are placed into the shoulder using these holes or portals, and inflamed tissue is removed. 
  • The bursa, or gliding layer around the rotator cuff, is excised and bone spurs are removed to alleviate pressure or mechanical irritation of the rotator cuff tendons. 
  • The bone spurs will not reoccur, and you should expect to find long-term relief.

A patient can be a candidate for surgery based on failure to improve and continuous symptoms over time despite treatment, but only the individual knows how much the pain interferes with his or her life. Often this pain interferes with day-to-day, work, functional, and recreational activities in addition to sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most common shoulder bursitis causes?

Repetitive lifting or activity, especially with the arm in the overhead or outstretched position can cause or exacerbate pain in the rotator cuff. This pain is usually referred to the lateral arm or deltoid muscle of the upper arm, and can cause pain with daily activities. Night pain is especially problematic, as it can be difficult or painful to lie on the affected shoulder, and will frequently cause loss of sleep and difficulty getting rest.

Spurring of the bone that lies on top of the rotator cuff has been implicated as an additional cause of shoulder pain, as it can cause compression or wear of the rotator cuff and “impinge” on the tendons.

What will my recovery be like if I need shoulder bursitis surgery?

Even though the procedure is an outpatient one, recovery can take time. Dr. Kaminsky recommends taking at least one week out of work, if not more, before returning to work on a limited or light-duty status. 

A sling can be used for support, and it can also prevent other people from bumping or grabbing the injured arm. Early use of the arm with light activities, in addition to physical therapy, can hasten recovery without causing inflammation to reoccur.

Do you accept insurance for a cortisone injection near me?

Yes! The team at Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics accepts insurance from a wide range of providers across the Greater Nashville area. To learn more about our list of accepted providers, visit our Insurance page here on the website.

How can I get started with the best shoulder surgeon & physical therapist near me?

At Pinnacle, we make it easy to get started on your road to recovery. Just use our online tool to request an appointment, and we’ll schedule you as quickly as we possibly can.

The FIrst-Class Treatment You Deserve

Visit Nashville’s Leading Shoulder Specialists

Request Appointment