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Shoulder Bursitis Exercises

Shoulder Bursitis: Exercises to Speed Up Recovery

Bursitis can cause quite a lot of hindrance to everyday activities that many people take for granted, but shoulder bursitis exercises can help you recover your strength during bursitis recovery. For those of you who don't know exactly what bursitis is, it's a condition that is results when inflammation occurs in the "bursa". The bursa is a slippery sac-like tissue that acts as an anti-friction agent between the tendons and the bones. In the case of shoulder bursitis, the bursa of the shoulder joint has sustained a fair amount of damage through a harsh injury or repetitive mistreatment.

Bursitis usually develops over a period of a few days. The most obvious signs are pain in the shoulder area and difficult with shoulder movements, which are often mistaken for a rotator cuff injury. The pain usually gets worse any time movement is attempted. With bursitis, there is more of a likelihood that swelling or redness will occur. If the skin of the shoulder feels a great deal warmer to the touch than the rest of the body, it could be a sign of infection and should be examined by a doctor.

The first step to speeding up recovery is to first take some time off. Minimize movements, particularly rotating movements, for a while and take anti-inflammatory medications to help with the pain. Although it takes about three weeks or so to recover from bursitis, it is recommended that one starts up a routine of shoulder bursitis exercises as soon as the pain goes away to prevent stiffness of the muscles and joint, as well as to regain strength sooner.

The first few exercises we are going to talk about are very simple in nature, but they will go a long way in helping you to regain a better range of movement faster. After all, we don't want to cause re-injury by taking things too fast, do we? Start by shrugging your shoulders. Yes, it's that simple. The idea is to shrug your shoulders upwards (like you are trying to touch your ears) and hold the position for a count of five seconds. Repeat this a few times before moving on to the next move, which is the shoulder blade squeeze. For this one, you will stand or sit with your back straight and your shoulders squared. Move your shoulders backwards and imagine that your shoulder blades are being squeezed together. Hold the "squeeze" position for a count of five seconds. Once you have this mastered, try dropping your shoulders during the shoulder blade squeeze (as if you are pushing your shoulder blades together and downward). This, too, should be held for a count of five seconds. Try combining the three exercises together into one workout. Repeat the entire combination about five or ten times--remember, you don't want to over-do it in the beginning. As your strength and shoulder mobility returns, you can increase the amount of repetitions in addition to trying out the next few exercises.

Once your shoulder's ability to rotate smoothly without any pain has come back, you can start a gentle course to strengthening the muscles around the area. Not only does this help you regain pre-injury strength, but could even help you surpass that level of strength which can help prevent the recurrence of shoulder bursitis. Get out two cans of soup or canned vegetables from your pantry. Hold the cans straight out from your sides, then bend the elbows upwards so that the cans are level with your head. Your inner wrists should now be facing the sides of your head.  "Pump" your arms upwards. You should keep the movement slow at first, and don't worry about fully straightening your arms just yet; the idea is to work up to that over time. Return your arms back to a 90 degree elbow angle, then repeat the pumping motion another four times. Increase the repetitions gradually and stop if you feel any pain.

These shoulder bursitis exercises should only be attempted after the pain from the initial bursitis pain has passed. Although a little stiffness while performing these exercises is normal, you should not feel a great deal of pain. If pain occurs, stop the exercise and try again after a few days of rest.


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