Bursa Thickening: A Normal Adaptive Process

Shoulder joint structureHere is another piece of research to suggest that changes within the body such as bursal thickening are (often) painless adaptive processes. Which is why, seeing these on scans should not assume that they are the cause of someone’s pain.

After all, in the study below, bursal thickening was shown to increase as the amount of swimming increased, with no correlation between bursal thickening and shoulder pain.

And this makes sense. A bursa is a fluid filled sac which is there to help reduce the effects of friction. More training means more friction. More friction means the body will adapt and so increase the thickening of the bursa.

This is normal!

The body is super amazing at adapting to whatever we put it through. But these changes are nothing to be afraid of.

However it is important to note the difference between bursa thickening caused by an acute episode (which usually is painful) and the thickening caused by an adaptive training programme (which is usually painless).

As always, every client is different. Which is why an MRI is only one part of the puzzle.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24907190

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