Treating Bursitis with Physical Therapy Exercise and a few Stretches

shoulder exercises for bursitis

In today post, we’ll be going over certain shoulder bursitis exercises that anyone can do in their own home. When doing exercises to rehab any injury, it’s important to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before hand.

Choose a light weight or use a resistance band during the following exercises. If at any point you feel pain don’t try to work through it as this will only set you back. Stop what your doing and apply one the many treatment options talked about below.

Before I lay out the exercises lets take a look at what cause bursitis. According to John Miller from

Bursitis around the shoulder can be caused by a repeated minor trauma such as overuse of the shoulder joint and muscles or a single more significant trauma such as a fall.

In overuse type injuries, bursitis is often associated with impingement and tendonitis(inflammation) of the rotator cuff tendons.

Specifically, the subacromial bursa lies between the coracoacromial ligament and the supraspinatus muscle and helps to reduce friction in this small space under the acromion.

Shoulder Bursitis

When your arm is at your side the bursa protrudes laterally and is not normally impinged unless it is grossly inflamed.

bursitis shoulder treatment

When you elevate your arm further out to the side the bursa rolls beneath the bone increasing the impingement.

shoulder bursitis

When you continue elevate your arm above shoulder height, the bursa rolls clears the impingement zone and your pain eases. However, further impingement may return at the extreme of range when your arm is adjacent to your ear. Read full article here…

Now that we got that out of the way lets look at some examples for treatment of bursitis.  Jacki Nilssen from lists treatment options you should check out.

Treatment for Bursitis

Live healthy and move well to prevent bursitis.

Staying fit and maintaining a healthy body weight will make life much easier on your joints.

Extra weight means more wear and tear every day. Besides that, ergonomics are huge in avoiding injuries in athletics and in daily life.

Warm up before exercising, lift objects properly or use a cart for heavy things, and don’t sit or kneel on hard surfaces for long periods of time. Get up and move every so often if you work a desk job.

Simple changes can make things easier on your bursae, and make your health a bit better too.

Discover the cause of your bursitis.

Knowing the cause of your boo-boo makes it easier to modify your behavior, which reduces the stress on the bursa involved.

Not only will you then heal faster, but you’ll minimize the odds of the bursitis coming back. For most people, this will be the easy part.
If you have a physical job or play a particular sport frequently, you probably have a good guess about where your problem is coming from already.Modify your behavior to lessen symptoms.

First things first: stop doing whatever it is that’s painful. Duh. If you can’t stop for work reasons, ask your employer if you can modify your work activities. They might require a doctor’s note.

If you’re training for a triathlon or something, I know you don’t want to stop exercising, but you have to at least lessen the intensity of your workouts and/or change to a different activity.

If you push through the pain til race day, you can end up with a more serious injury and you probably won’t perform well, anyway.


Try a few things at home to start feeling better.

OTC anti-inflammatories like Advil or Aleve—or the off-brands—kill your pain and also reduce swelling, which is important for soft tissue injuries.

Read more here…

Alright, it time for the actually listing out the exercises. The following article by the people at will outline a solid routine anyone can follow, try to stick with the outlined sets and reps. If at any time you feel pain, STOP and rest.

Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for your condition. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Posterior stretching exercise

Posterior stretching exercise
slide 1 of 11, Posterior stretching exercise,
  1. Hold the elbow of your injured arm with your other hand.
  2. Use your hand to pull your injured arm gently up and across your body. You will feel a gentle stretch across the back of your injured shoulder.
  3. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Then slowly lower your arm.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Up-the-back stretch

Stretching arm behind back
slide 2 of 11, Up-the-back stretch,

Note: Your doctor or physiotherapist may want you to wait to do this stretch until you have regained most of your range of motion and strength.

You can do this stretch in different ways. Hold any of these stretches for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat them 2 to 4 times.

  1. Put your hand in your back pocket. Let it rest there to stretch your shoulder.
  1. With your other hand, hold your injured arm (palm outward) behind your back by the wrist. Pull your arm up gently to stretch your shoulder.
  1. Next, put a towel over your other shoulder. Put the hand of your injured arm behind your back. Now hold the back end of the towel. With the other hand, hold the front end of the towel in front of your body. Pull gently on the front end of the towel. This will bring your hand farther up your back to stretch your shoulder.

Overhead stretch

Overhead stretch
slide 3 of 11, Overhead stretch,
  1. Standing about an arm’s length away, grasp onto a solid surface. You could use a countertop, a doorknob, or the back of a sturdy chair.
  2. With your knees slightly bent, bend forward with your arms straight. Lower your upper body, and let your shoulders stretch.
  3. As your shoulders are able to stretch farther, you may need to take a step or two backward.
  4. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Then stand up and relax. If you had stepped back during your stretch, step forward so you can keep your hands on the solid surface.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Shoulder flexion (lying down)

Shoulder flexion exercise while lying down
slide 4 of 11, Shoulder flexion (lying down),

Note: To make a wand for this exercise, use a piece of PVC pipe or a broom handle with the broom removed. Make the wand about 30 centimetres wider than your shoulders.

  1. Lie on your back, holding a wand with both hands. Your palms should face down as you hold the wand.
  2. Keeping your elbows straight, slowly raise your arms over your head. Raise them until you feel a stretch in your shoulders, upper back, and chest.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Shoulder rotation (lying down)

Shoulder rotation exercise while lying down
slide 5 of 11, Shoulder rotation (lying down),
Note: To make a wand for this exercise, use a piece of PVC pipe or a broom handle with the broom removed. Make the wand about 30 centimetres wider than your shoulders.
  1. Lie on your back. Hold a wand with both hands with your elbows bent and palms up.
  2. Keep your elbows close to your body, and move the wand across your body toward the sore arm.
  3. Hold for 8 to 12 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Read more of the article here…

Lastly, here’s a video by Dr. Mandell showcasing two medically proven exercises you should try to help combat bursitis in the shoulder. more video like this here…

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