Did Atlas ever tire of carrying "the heavens" on his shoulders?
Of course, it's a story that has been derived from Greek mythology yet it's one that gave rise to the phrase 'carrying the weight of the world on one's shoulders", and almost all of us go through such a phase in our lives.
While this phrase is idiomatic in nature, there comes a point of time when we tire of carrying out such a duty for an extended period.
And just like Atlas, there is no way by which one can take a breather during this time, it seems.
Strangely enough, this transcends into the physical world where the strain of carrying the "weight of the world" (quite literally) on your shoulder can result in injury… yes, we're talking about "shoulder bursitis".
Shoulder Bursitis & its Causes
Blame it on a little sac otherwise known as the bursa that is present in about 160 in number and are located near the large joints, your shoulder also being one of these joints.
This sac is filled with a fluid and whose function is to work as a gliding surface (with a cushion-like effect) between two tissues of the body.
Without these bursae, you would experience far more friction between the bones, tendons and muscle , and most of all, won't enjoy free movement that we're used to with these fluid-filled sacs.
Shoulder bursitis occurs when one of these sacs are inflamed or injured for reason related to overuse of the shoulder muscles – in games like baseball where pitchers have to throw the ball for several innings at a stretch or where tennis players have to strike the ball for 5 sets. Other reasons include lifting a heavy weight incorrectly as well as the aging process.
Another rare cause for shoulder bursitis is in it getting infected, and in which case, the sac gets filled with too much fluid.
Shoulder Bursitis – Symptoms & Treatment
When it comes to the symptoms of shoulder bursitis, there are several instances in which you will know whether you have this condition or not.
a) Feel pain when you move your shoulder or lift your arms above your head
b) Experience an aching pain when resting
c) Turn onto your sore shoulder while a sleep , and you experience a "rude awakening" of sorts.
d) Cannot move your shoulder and arm as much as normally possible.
e) Feel the strength in your upper arm and shoulder slipping.
As for the treatment, most physicians will take an x-ray and will recommend that you stop using your shoulders and arms, and this goes for even simple movements. Normally, it's only when the pain subsides that you will be asked to resume body movements.
Also, another normal course of treatment will involve placing ice packs at least 3 times a day on the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes.
If the condition is much serious than usual, a course of antibiotics, steroids and non-inflammatory medication will be administered by doctors to relieve the pain as well as speed up the healing process.
As for the fitness enthusiasts who walk into a gym for the first time, don't try to be Atlas, please! We'll let Atlas remain where he should be – a legend in Greek mythology.