• Sports with repetitive overhead activities
  • Gym goers
  • Elderly
  • Desk workers & persons with chronic poor posture


The bursa can be described as a fluid filled sac found between the bones that make up both the shoulder and the hip joint. There are several of these fluid filled sacs within the shoulder joint.  The role of the bursa is to help reduce friction between the structures within the joint allowing better and more fluid range of motion. Inflammation of the bursa is termed as bursitis and symptoms can typically include pain at the front and outside of the shoulder and upper arm, pain at the hand, pain at night when sleeping on the affected shoulder, and activities whereby the arm is lifted over shoulder height.


Bursitis can occur after an acute injury or trauma, or more commonly as a result of a chronic repetitive strain to the structures within the shoulder joint. Repetitive strain or injury to the structures within the shoulder joint causes an inflammatory effect and subsequent painful symptoms at the shoulder and arm.

Overuse or chronic bursitis is typically associated with shoulder impingement or tendonitis of the rotator cuff muscles. Impingement occurs when the soft tissue structures within the shoulder joint get “pinched” together resulting in inflammation and pain. When the bursa become irritated they tend to become inflamed and enlarged, resulting in less space within the shoulder joint and more chance of soft tissue structures impinging on one another. Physiotherapy aims to reduce the likelihood of impingement by addressing muscular imbalances and weakness around the shoulder, correcting posture, lengthening overactive and tight structures of the shoulder, and specific strengthening of the rotator cuff muscles.


To manage shoulder bursitis your local move forward physiotherapist will assess the shoulder and entire upper quadrant, including the neck, upper back and arm in order to determine any factors that may be contributing to your injury. An individualized program and treatment plan will then be prescribed to help reduce the strain placed on shoulder joint and associated muscles and tendons in order to best manage your injury and to prevent any ongoing long term pain. A number of techniques may be used throughout your rehabilitation, which may include;
• Deep tissue massage
• Dry needling
• Joint mobilisations
• Stretching exercises
• Strengthening exercises can be incorporated into a Pilates program at both our Quinns Physiotherapy and Jindalee Physiotherapy Move Forward practices.
• Heat and/or ice therapy
• Taping
• Specific activity modifications, performed under physio supervision at our Hillarys Physiotherapy, located just next to Whitfords Shopping centre within Healthy Life Gym.