By Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc.
SAN ANTONIO - The shoulder is made up of numerous joints combined with muscles, ligaments and tendons. These various structures are responsible for the arm’s wide range of motion. The disadvantage to this extensive range of motion is a lack of stability, which can make the shoulder more vulnerable to injury. Tendonitis and bursitis injuries are two of the most common sources of shoulder pain and stiffness.
Tendonitis and bursitis both result from an inflammation of soft tissue surrounding the muscles and bones. Tendonitis occurs when there is inflammation of the rotator tendons (fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone), while bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sacs which cushion bones and other mobile structures), which surround the rotator tendons.
Inflammation of the shoulder is most often triggered by repetitive movements which result in minor injuries to the shoulder. Common activities such as shoveling, painting, raking or gardening, bench pressing, or even hammering can cause tendonitis or bursitis. Participating in sports that require repetitive overhead movements such as tennis, golf or swimming can also increase your risk of developing one or both of these conditions.
Symptoms of tendonitis and bursitis often occur gradually with age. These conditions are more common in those over the age of 40. However, a more rapid onset may occur after engaging in a particularly repetitive physical activity. Symptoms are characterized by sharp pain, discomfort or weakness in the upper arm and shoulder regions, especially when the arm is lifted overhead or away from the body. Many people also have difficulty sleeping on the affected shoulder.
Tendonitis and bursitis can be diagnosed in a number of ways. Your physician will begin by asking you questions about your medical history, current symptoms and recent physical activity. A physical exam to evaluate your range of motion and tenderness will then be performed. Diagnostic tests such as an X-ray or an MRI may be recommended to rule out other common causes of shoulder pain.
The first step to treating tendonitis or bursitis is to rest. Minimizing movements that cause pain will allow your shoulder time to heal. From there, your physician may recommend a combination of medication and shoulder exercises to manage your pain. Oral anti-inflammatory medications (e.g., Motrin, Advil, Aleve, or Celebrex) work to diminish inflammation while simple shoulder range-of-motion exercises can prevent shoulder stiffness and strengthen the rotator cuff during recovery.
More serious cases of tendonitis or bursitis may require formal physical therapy or a series of cortisone injections to relieve painful symptoms. Though rare, surgical correction is also a treatment option for individuals who have not received an adequate response to rest, medication and/or injections. Over time, symptoms of tendonitis and bursitis often subside on their own without the need for surgical intervention.
Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. is currently conducting a research study
for study volunteers 14 years of age and older who have pain in one shoulder due to tendonitis or bursitis that has started within the past seven days. If you would like to learn more about our study regarding tendonitis or bursitis of the shoulder, please call us at 210-949-0122 or visit our website at SAresearch.com
. A stipend to cover the cost of time and travel is being offered to study participants.