Ask the Orthopedist
Why does my shoulder hurt when I lay on my side?
The shoulder is a complex joint. It encompasses the union of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Inside the shoulder is also bursa, tiny sacs of fluid that help reduce the friction between moving parts around the shoulder. Bursa serve as a cushion for the moving rotator cuff tendons. The bursa can become painful when inflamed due to an injury, overuse or condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Certain movements may be more painful than others. Patients in our office typically complain of pain when lying on their side, pain when they lift their arm, open a door or carry a heavy object. There may also be some swelling in the area that hurts.
Shoulder bursitis can happen to anyone, but those at a higher risk tend to be athletes, farmers, carpenters, gardeners, factory workers and others who perform a specific shoulder movement on a frequent basis.
The first step in care for bursitis pain is simply to rest the shoulder and avoid the motions that cause pain as much as you can.
Some patients find that wearing a shoulder sling helps make sure they are resting the arm. Ice the area when painful and take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Stretching may also help if the bursitis is caused by muscle tightness or a strength imbalance. Your doctor may also give you a localized corticosteroid injection to manage the pain and to control inflammation.
When these conservative measures do not provide relief, you may consider regenerative medicine treatments using your own body cells. This treatment works by activating the body’s natural healing process to reduce painful inflammation and activate healing. It involves a relatively simple procedure that takes plasma-rich platelets (PRP) from your own blood and injects them into the shoulder joint after separating them in a centrifuge....