What is Bursitis?
Bursitis treatment options include medical care and alternative, drug-free therapies. Bursae are fluid-filled pads that cushion the area around muscles, tendons, and bones, in proximity to the joints. And bursitis is a condition where there is inflammation of the bursae. Typical areas for the occurrence of this problem include the hip, elbow, shoulder and knee, as well as the heel and the base of the big toe.
Causes of Bursitis
The pain is related to trauma that has developed in joints which regularly engage in repetitive motions. There are a number of repetitive motions and actions which could contribute to the onset of bursitis in different areas of the body.1 Aside from injury or repetitive actions, the risk of developing this condition also increases as people get older. With advancing age, tendons can tear more easily and are not as elastic as they once were.
When the bursa is doing its job properly, its lubricating fluid can decrease instances of friction and irritation. It is the inflammation which renders the bursa less or entirely ineffective, contributing to friction and further injury if the bursitis is left untreated. When the joints are overused and not properly cared for to compensate for the additional stress, the patient is left at an increased risk of bursitis. Raking, shoveling, tennis, golf, pitching, painting, and even gardening are just a few of the regular, repetitive activities which could trigger problems. If one consistently practices incorrect posture, or does not stretch enough prior to exercise, these are more reasons why the condition can occur.
People who naturally have different leg lengths are more likely to experience added stress to a bursa. Medical conditions behind the onset of this issue include gout, psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid issues, or medication reactions. Even infection can lead to this condition. Pain is the main symptom, and it can be more severe if there is a buildup of calcium deposits. Loss of mobility is likely as pain makes it difficult to perform certain motions. Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), where there is a loss of motion, can result from shoulder bursitis.2
Bursitis can be treated by resting the injured area, avoiding the activities which triggered the condition, icing the injury, and using anti-inflammatory and corticosteroid medications. Steroid injections for treatment can be repeated, but too many treatments in a month can lead to side effects and mask the underlying problem. Range-of-motion exercises, as well as splinting, are treatments that are included in physical therapy. In some rare situations, the patient’s healthcare provider may suggest surgery as an option.3 Bursectomy is a surgery that cuts out the bursa. This is done because it eliminates the inflamed bursa and, weeks later, a new bursa will grow in. The new bursa will be without inflammation. In treating bursitis, using a compression bandage is not recommended, as it could increase friction in the joint area. Antibiotics would be prescribed if the condition was originally caused by an infection.4
Bursitis and flare-ups can be prevented by avoiding overuse of the joint, stretching, warming up, and cooling down when doing exercises, increasing muscle strength, taking breaks when needed, and cushioning the joints.5 Alternatives to medications and surgical care include bodywork, including the likes of massage therapy, chiropractic care, homeopathy, nutritional therapy, yoga, and acupuncture. A massage therapist will not be able to cure this problem, but they can provide the patient with relief from the pain and help the body to heal itself. Massage therapy can increase the supply and flow of blood to the tissues. Trigger point therapy is often employed in this case.
Herbs, such as arnica oil, turmeric, and willow, and homeopathic remedies, as well as nutritional supplements such as vitamin A and vitamin C could also be helpful. Avoiding caffeine and eating a healthy diet would be recommended. The body works best to heal itself when it is given the proper fuel and care on a regular basis. Yoga can improve posture, muscle strength, and breathing.
Chiropractic care is particularly helpful for musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractors can align the vertebra and unblock interference in the nerves which could be contributing with difficulty in the healing process. Chiropractic work to restore posture, reduce inflammation, and help prevent future issues. A chiropractor will probably have recommendations for exercises and lifestyle changes for the patient to follow at home so that the patients play a large part in their own treatment.
For example, patients need to learn proper posture when standing, walking, sitting, or performing other regular or athletic activities. Patients should take regular breaks when they are sitting at a computer, as is common in office work. In some cases, using ergonomic chairs while working at a computer or other sedentary activity for hours could help. Chiropractors could also suggest specific types of stretches for patients which help strengthen areas which are susceptible to repetitive stress.6
2, 3 http://www.webmd.com
Learn more about other injuries caused by repetitive tasks.