bursitis and frozen shoulder September 12, 2018

Frozen Shoulder vs Bursitis

Frozen Shoulder vs Bursitis. What’s the difference? Frozen Shoulder is often confused with bursitis and it is often misdiagnosed as bursitis. This is because both frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) patients and bursitis patients experience similar night pains and reduced mobility of the shoulder.

Frozen shoulder is often confused with bursitis and it is often misdiagnosed by health practitioners as bursitis. This is because both frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) patients and bursitis patients experience similar night pains and reduced mobility of the shoulder.

We have had patients in the past who got treatment for what they believed was bursitis but the real culprit was frozen shoulder. One such patient is Tracey Child, from Brisbane, Australia. She was incorrectly diagnosed with bursitis. She had two cortisone shots and had also tried chiro, physio, massage, TENS, etc. Nothing helped her shoulder. She went and saw a specialist who told her she had classic frozen shoulder. He said, “See me again in two weeks.” For what? She didn’t know. She researched cures for frozen shoulder and found us. The rest is history!

Frozen Shoulder vs Bursitis – What’s the difference and how can I tell?

Bursitis shoulder pain is similar to frozen shoulder pain, but the key difference is passive immobility. With a true adhesive capsulitis frozen shoulder, when a person raises their arm out to the side they cannot go up further past a certain point–no matter if someone helps them move it or not. Therefore both active and passive range of motion is limited.

With bursitis, active range of motion is limited due to impingement and pain but passive range of motion is usually not as limited. Passive range of motion is limited with true adhesive capsulitis frozen shoulder. The immobility is due to inflammation and scar tissue development in and around the shoulder joint capsule. With bursitis, the person might not be able to actively move their arm past a certain point. But if they have help, they can passively get it up. The immobility is caused solely by inflammation and shoulder joint impingement. So with frozen shoulder vs bursitis, a big difference is the type of immobility.


frozen shoulder vs bursitis

A bursa is like a tiny water balloon with only a few drops of fluid in it.

What is bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones, tendons, joints, and muscles. It houses the fluid that lubricates the shoulder joint and keeps it healthy. Bursae vary in size depending on the individual and location in the body. Some bursae are located just beneath the skin’s surface while others are deep below muscles and other soft tissue.

I know that the MCD Procedure can fix frozen shoulder, but what about bursitis?

Dr. Oolo-Austin’s neuro-muscular treatments can resolve bursitis if the underlying causative condition is neurological muscular dysfunction. If there are muscular imbalances within the shoulder rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), this can lead to impingement syndrome of the shoulder. This means that there isn’t enough space for the bursa and tendons in the subacromial space and hence these structures are irritated. This leads to inflammation.

The rotator cuff muscles work together to depress the humerus (arm bone) so that there is adequate subacromial space. As soon as there is dysfunction with even one rotator cuff muscle, the deltoid muscles (the bigger superficial muscles in the shoulder) will overcompensate and elevate the humeral bone resulting in reduced subacromial space and therefore impingement syndrome of the shoulder. Dr. Oolo-Austin is the originator of a unique neurological muscular, advanced functional soft-tissue assessment and treatment system that expertly assesses and corrects neuromuscular imbalances. The specialized procedure he will usually use for a shoulder bursitis with should impingement is called his Myoneural Shoulder Impingement Procedure or “MSIP”.

If you are curious as to what’s happening with your shoulder, try our new and interactive frozen shoulder self-test!


video transcript

Husband: …and the general practitioner with the injections?
Tracey: Oh yeah. That didn’t work.
Linley: How many cortisone injections did you have?
Tracey: Two into the bursa. And it took me a lot to get me to do that needle because you know you hear from some people that it absolutely hurts. And as I said to you I didn’t even have needles for babies! So I’m not gonna have needles for things. But because it was in so much pain, I reluctantly did it and they didn’t hurt me at all. But the pain just never went away. Which means it wasn’t bursitis. Then we saw the specialist, the shoulder specialist and he just said to me oh it’s a frozen shoulder.
Husband: Classic frozen shoulder. “See me in 8 weeks.”
Tracey: Which I cancelled because that was last week.
Linley: Raise it up as far as you can go. We’ve got to 54.1. Ok, put it down for me please. Ok. Lift it up and out to the side again. Great. 97 degrees. So you’ve gone from 54.1 to 97 degrees. Which is incredibly good. Because normally I expect 10 to 20 degrees of improvement.
Tracey: Well, I was kind of bending. Is that ok?
Husband: You can see the difference.
Linley: You would have been bending before anyway. So don’t worry.
Tracey: I was bending just to get it to here. It’s just the improvement from yesterday to today is just insane– meaning a good thing. No pain coming from the nerve endings at all. Just the discomfort of what I’ve gotta do as far as a lot more exercise and getting through it. Thank you! It’s been great!Linley: Good. Link them together, take them up. Right. All the way back. Back, back, back… Good! And come down. Bring them down sideways. I’m here if you need me. No, she’s doing alright! Good, good, good.

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