Subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS) and bursitis are common causes of shoulder pain, affecting millions of people worldwide. While these conditions can significantly impair quality of life, there’s promising evidence that osteopathic treatment can offer substantial relief.


In this blog post, we’ll explore how osteopathy can alleviate symptoms of SIS and bursitis, supported by recent medical research.


Subacromial impingement syndrome occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff and the subacromial bursa become irritated and inflamed as they pass through the subacromial space, resulting in pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder. Bursitis, on the other hand, involves inflammation of the subacromial bursa, which can exacerbate impingement symptoms.


Osteopathic treatment emphasises a holistic approach to healthcare, focusing on the body’s self-healing mechanisms and the interrelationship between structure and function. Osteopaths use a variety of manual techniques to address musculoskeletal issues, restore balance, and promote overall well-being.


Subacromial impingement syndrome and bursitis can cause significant discomfort and functional impairment, but osteopathic treatment offers a promising approach to symptom relief and improved shoulder function. Supported by recent medical research, osteopathic techniques, when integrated with exercise therapy and other interventions, can help alleviate pain, restore mobility, and enhance the overall quality of life for individuals suffering from these conditions.


If you’re experiencing shoulder pain or suspect you may have subacromial impingement syndrome or bursitis, consider consulting with an osteopath to explore your treatment options and embark on the path to recovery.




Recent studies have investigated the efficacy of osteopathic treatment for subacromial impingement syndrome and bursitis, with promising results:


1. A study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2019) examined the effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) on patients with shoulder pain, including those with subacromial impingement syndrome. The researchers found that OMT led to significant improvements in pain, shoulder function, and range of motion compared to conventional treatment alone.


2. Another study published in the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine (2020) evaluated the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment combined with exercise therapy for patients with shoulder impingement syndrome. The results demonstrated that the combination of osteopathy and exercise therapy resulted in greater pain relief and functional improvement than exercise therapy alone.


3. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy (2021) assessed the evidence for manual therapy, including osteopathic manipulation, in the management of shoulder pain. The review concluded that manual therapy interventions, including osteopathic techniques, are effective for reducing pain and improving function in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome and related conditions.


About the author



Daniel Skaer was drawn to study Osteopathy through his personal experiences with sporting injuries, a fascination with the science behind the human body and a passion for helping people achieve quality of life.


“The complexity in the human body won’t adapt to change unless you create a change,” he says. “Treating injuries for their causing agents can become a preventative rather than a band-aid approach.”


Daniel is a strong believer in Osteopathy’s philosophy of treating the body as a whole, rather than simply treating the dysfunctional region. “No two patients are the same, which is why it’s so important to work with each patient to create a tailored management plan, empowering them through education and support.”


Daniel has a specific interest in chronic pain management, hypermobility dysfunctions and structural strength assistance and uses a range of techniques including soft tissue, manipulation and mobilisation techniques.