How is snapping scapula treated?
Non-surgical approaches are commonly applied with patients suffering scapulothoracic bursitis. Resting, activity modification and icing the affected area helps to decrease pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also help decrease swelling and pain. Range of motion exercises and physical therapy restore normal shoulder motion and motor strength. A strong shoulder girdle helps to improve shoulder kinematics. Dr. Williams may also suggest a corticosteroid injection. These injections provide immediate relief but should be considered carefully prior to adminstration.
If pain, mechanical symptoms and shoulder dysfunction persist after the application of nonoperative treatment strategies, Dr. Williams may recommend surgery. The surgical approach involves removing the scapulothoracic bursa and/or partial scapular resection. A bursectomy is a procedure that removes inflamed bursa and surrounding scar tissue. In addition, irregular bony projections or spurs are typically removed during this procedure. A partial scapular resection focuses on the upper medial portion of the scapula which may be causing improper friction against the thorax (rib cage). Patients are typically immobilized for a few days following this procedure; a sling is used for approximately one week. Physical therapy is started after the first week and typically continues for 2-3 months.