Bursitis is a condition that affects the bursae, small sacs of fluid that protect tendons, and facilitate movement by reducing friction around joints. When the bursae become inflamed, it can cause pain, swelling, and redness. Bursitis can occur in any joint in the body, but it is most common in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and heels. It is a condition that tends to develop secondary to other biomechanical dysfunction, trauma or inflammatory conditions, therefore effective treatment should address the underlying condition. For example, bursitis occurring in shoulders is believed to be caused by other biomechanical dysfunction, e.g. subacromial bursitis is frequently related to  subacromial impingementadhesive capsulitisrotator cuff tendinopathysupraspinatus tendinopathy or bicipital tendinopathy1.

Chiropractic is a type of healthcare that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. It is perhaps most well-known for treatments relating to the spine, however chiropractors are also trained and skilled in treating a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions affecting other parts of the body.

Chiropractors use a variety of techniques, including spinal adjustments and therapeutic modalities, to improve joint function and relieve pain.

Can chiropractic help with bursitis?

There is evidence to suggest that chiropractic care can be effective in treating shoulder pain. A 2007 study2 published in the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, found that patients with shoulder impingement syndrome who received chiropractic care experienced significant improvements in pain and function. Another study3 found a multimodel chiropractic approach was very effective in reducing pain and improving movement in shoulder impingement syndrome.

Treatment of bursitis

Chiropractors may use a variety of techniques to treat bursitis, including:

  • Adjustments or manipulations: Chiropractic adjustments can help to improve joint function and stimulate sensory nerves, which is believed to assist with coordination and improve mobility4
  • Identifying contributing factors and provide advice around behaviour modification
  • Soft tissue therapy: Soft tissue therapy techniques, such as massage and stretching, can help to reduce muscle tension and improve range of motion.
  • Myofascial release technique:  is a focused soft tissue therapy technique that can help to release muscle adhesions and improve range of motion.
  • Therapeutic modalities: Therapeutic modalities, such as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation, can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Newer technologies that can help include high intensity laser, low level laser and shockwave therapy.
  • Therapeutic exercises – used to re-introduce active movements that were lost, re-train weakened areas and rebuild tissue tolerance to forces. Exercise is a crucial component of shoulder treatment.

What are the benefits of chiropractic care for bursitis? 

There are a number of potential benefits to chiropractic care for bursitis and related musculoskeletal conditions, including:3,4

  • Reduced pain
  • Improved joint function
  • Faster recovery time
  • Reduced need for medication
  • Protect from future occurrence: Chiropractors have the knowledge and expertise to create exercise programs and educate patients to enhance strength and help prevent future exacerbations.

If you suffer from bursitis or other painful musculoskeletal conditions, our friendly and professional chiropractors would love to help. To find out more or to make an appointment, please call us on (07)5580 5655 or visit our website at https://spinesportfeet.com.au/contact-us/.


  1. Walker‐Bone, Karen, et al. “Prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb in the general population.” Arthritis Care & Research 51.4 (2004): 642-651.
  2. Munday, S. L., Jones, A., Brantingham, J. W., Globe, G., Jensen, M., & Price, J. L. (2007). A Randomized, Single-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy of Chiropractic Shoulder Girdle Adjustment in the Treatment of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome. Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, 44(6).
  3. Pribicevic, M., Pollard, H. A multi-modal treatment approach for the shoulder: A 4 patient case series, Chiropr Man Therap 13, 20 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-1340-13-20
  4. Jinmo Yang, Byoungkwon Lee, Changbeom Kim, Changes in proprioception and pain in patients with neck pain after upper thoracic manipulation, Journal of Physical Therapy Science (2015) Volume 27, Issue 3, Pages 795-798, https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.27.795