The literal meaning of bursitis is inflammation of the bursa. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion, lubricate, and reduce friction between bone, muscle, tendons, and skin. There are more than 150 bursae found in joints throughout the body. When bursae become inflamed, they typically become swollen and tender, resulting in stiffness and pain that increase with movement or pressure. This pressure can even cause pain while lying down and sleeping.
There are more than 200,000 reported cases of bursitis in the U.S. per year. Bursitis most commonly occurs in the shoulder, which has the most range of motion of any joint in the human body, but it can also occur in the elbows, hips, knees and other joints. The risk of bursitis tends to increase as you age. People with chronic bursitis often experience little pain but experience limited mobility, which can have a significant impact on quality of life.
Because bursitis can happen in any bursa in the body, there are dozens of different types of bursitis. Here are some of the most common types of bursitis.
The most common causes of bursitis involve heavy lifting, repetitive motions, and prolonged pressure that strain and inflame the joints. Athletes who run, throw, jump, or swing their arms (tennis, baseball, bowling, etc.) often experience bursitis. However, people who lead a sedentary lifestyle are susceptible to bursitis when they suddenly start exercising without proper conditioning.
Additional causes of bursitis include but are not limited to:
We can help you diagnose and pinpoint the root cause of bursitis through a comprehensive exam, a conversation about your history and activity, and observation of how you move and function. In some cases, diagnostic imaging might be required to confirm diagnosis. If an infection is suspected, a small sample of bursa fluid may be taken for testing.
To account for the subtle differences and complexities in different areas of the body, treatment depends on the specific type of bursitis. For mild cases of bursitis, ice is used to reduce swelling and rest will often allow the inflammation to subside and the bursa to heal. However, if bursitis was caused by improper joint alignment or mechanics, these issues should be addressed to prevent reoccurrence. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, and podiatry can help you restore proper function and balance, while nutritional protocols and supplements can reduce inflammation. Massage and acupuncture can also relieve pain from bursitis and promote healing.
Of course, prevention of bursitis is ideal. Stay hydrated, fill your diet with whole foods, and avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, soda, and processed foods. Take frequent breaks from repetitive motions and activities, warm up and cool down instead of starting and stopping abruptly, and use protective gear such as knee pads and seat cushions to relieve pressure on your joints.
Don’t accept pain, stiffness, swelling, and/or tenderness in any of your joints as normal. Schedule a complimentary consultation at Natural Healthcare Center. We’ll discuss your history, review your diagnostic imaging, and share our insights at no charge. Let us help you determine if bursitis is the problem, identify the root cause, and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you feel better, function better and live longer.