Bursitis is a painful condition that afflicts the small, fluid-filled sacs cushioning the bones, tendons and muscles near joints. Bursitis occurs due to inflammation of bursae.
The most common locations for bursitis are the shoulder, elbow and hip. It is also possible to get bursitis on knee, heel or the bottom of big toe. Bursitis mostly occurs when joints perform frequent repetitive motion.
Though, bursitis pain subsides within a few weeks after appropriate treatment, recurrent flare-ups of bursitis are also seen.
A person suffering with bursitis on a joint, following symptoms may be observed.
- Feel achy or stiff
- Hurt more when you move it or press on it
- Look swollen and red
When the joint pain is accompanied by fever or swelling, it is best to consult a doctor.
Usually bursitis is caused by repetitive motions or positions, which irritate the bursae around a joint. Long duration leaning on elbows, kneeling or repetitively lifting head over the head are most common examples. Also, an injury or trauma to the affected area, inflammatory arthritis, gout, and infection could be possible causes.
Doctors often diagnose bursitis on the basis of medical history and physical exam. However, further testing may be required to ascertain the presence of bursitis.
- Imaging tests: Usually, ultrasound or MRI are recommended when doctor is unable is diagnose from physical exam.
- Lab tests: Blood tests or an analysis of fluid from the inflamed bursa are done to pinpoint the cause of joint inflammation and pain.
Bursitis is usually resolved with the help of traditional guidelines, such as rest, ice and taking a pain reliever. When these fail to show progress, medications may be required.
- Medication comprising of antibiotics is prescribed when inflammation in bursa is caused by an infection.
- Physical therapy or exercises are suggested to strengthen the muscles in the affected area to ease pain and prevent recurrence.
- Injections comprising of corticosteroid drug is administered into bursa to relieve inflammation in shoulder or hip. This treatment brings rapid pain relief.
- Assistive device such as a walking cane or other device helps to relieve pressure on the affected area.
- Surgery is performed to drain the inflamed bursa.
Home measures one can take to relieve the pain of bursitis are:
- Providing complete rest to the affected area
- Ice application for reducing the swelling
- An over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others), to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
- Cushioning the knees with the help of pillows
- Avoiding to put pressure on elbow
Sulfur, Rhus toxicodendron, Ruta graveolens, Sanguinaria, Phytolacca, Ferrum Phos, Arnica Montana, Belladonna, Bryonia, Causticum, Cheilodinium, and Benzoicum acidum are extremely useful remedies to relieve localized pain associated with Bursistis.
- Boswellia and Ashwagandha are renowned Ayurvedic herbs for reducing inflammation and stress on joints.
- Two cups of licorice tea a day are said to be effective against Bursitis pain.
- Turmeric is another Ayurvedic herb helpful in relieving bursitis inflammation.
- Juice of green leafy vegetables such as cabbage is not only detoxifying but also helps in combating the pain.
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1. Crenshaw AH, Canale ST. Nontraumatic disorders. In: Canale ST, ed.Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics. 9th St Louis: Mosby; 1998:776-85.
2. Sheon RP, Moskowitz RW, Goldberg VM.Soft Tissue Rheumatic Pain: Recognition, Management, Prevention. 3rd Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1996.