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Overcoming Scapular Bursitis


For almost a year now I have suffered from scapulothoracic bursitis (snapping scapula syndrome). My training has suffered greatly and I am looking for any ideas.

Basically, I get inflammation and pain in the soft tissues under the scapulae, as well as some crepitus when I pull them backwards. There is probably bursitis and there is almost certainly adhesions involved. All this developed after I sprained the region about a year ago and it basically never healed right. Five months of physical therapy didn't help much, nothing funny shows up on x-rays and MRI, and so I am basically on my own unless I should decide to go for surgery.

For some reason I can't do bent over flyes to save my life. In five months of physical therapy I could not progress past 1 pound weights with this exercise without being in agony for days after. I still cannot do these. Rows are much better, and I have been having some mixed success in the past couple of months with seated rows and negative incline dumbbell presses. I find I can do them with moderate weight but just VERY SLOWLY. A couple of times I literally felt an adhesion snap while doing them and felt great for a week afterwards. Some days I still feel great after doing these and the pain almost goes away for a few days. But then for some reason next time the exact same exercises feel like they aggravate the injury. Right now it is so sore again that I feel back to square one.

Anyone got any ideas? I'm just about ready to try anything.


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Bushy, be sure and check him for Scapular Winging. lol

OP, it helps my scapular function to take a batting cage baseball and roll it between my back and a wall. I'm sure any hard ball would work. I focus on the muscles around the perimeter of the scap, especially the Traps. I do it before I start warming up and between one or two warmup sets. Good luck.


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No, I am in the Boston area (though I travel often to South Africa via the U.K. so this might still be a possibility). Anyway, so massage can break up adhesions, right? I did go a few times to a chiro who does active release therapy. It didn't help but I don't think he was very good at it. Maybe I should give the massage route another go, this time with a better therapist. Anyone know of a good one in my area?

I have been taking fish oil at 1mg a day. What dosage would you recommend? Hydration is good. Yeah, sitting and computer use are big problems, and so is lying down. I am thinking of getting a stand-up desk.


Thanks guys, I try the rolling suggestions.


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I'm very interested in following how you make out. While not as extreme as yours, I have some shoulder 'locking' issues in my right shoulder, most notably if I do a 'lateral raise' movement and try to touch my hands over my head (I can get to about 2 oclock) and/or raising my arm in a 'chinup' ROM.

Eric Cressey/Mike Robertson (the 'Shoulder Savers' guys) are in the Boston area. Might be worth at least a call to them. At minimum, they could probably point you to some shoulder specialists in the area.


Thanks guys. I'll up the fish oil, try to limit the sitting, and I'll definitely contact Cressey.


Ya know, Bushy, we are passing up an opportunity to go octagon on each other for 6 pages and leave the new guy dazed and confused.


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