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Understanding Bursitis

by Kimberly Johnson

Untitled-1There are over 160 Bursae in your body. These fluid filled sacs are located between the muscle tendon and the bone. They lubricate and cushion, aiding in the decrease of pressure between your bones, tendons, and muscles around your joints.
The cause of bursitis is usually from overuse, stress or trauma. Or in rare cases due to an infection. The friction from a joint, tendon or ligament rubbing against the bursae causes it to get inflamed and that causes the pain.
A common type of bursitis that doesn’t show redness is hip bursitis, which is located on the side of your thigh. The pain is actually over the greater trochanter, a portion of your thigh bone (femur) that protrudes out just where the bone joins the hip. The pain will often radiate posterior/superior as well as extending down the front of the thigh and knee. This pain is often worse in bed.
The initial treatment is often rest, ice and other methods to decrease inflammation such as NSAIDS or cortisone or naturally with proteolytic enzymes, omega 3’s, boswellia, MSM, glucasamine, etc.
Other methods for decreasing inflammation are: acupuncture, laser therapy and ultrasound. Laser therapy is a new method and it decreases inflammation, stimulates healing in the bursa and minimizes the formation of scar tissue which occurs if the bursa sac is left alone to heal on its own. Acupuncture works by stimulating blood flow in the area, which will also decrease inflammation and stimulate healing.
Occasionally excess fluid is removed via aspiration, where a needle is inserted into the bursa so the fluid can be drawn out. In rare cases, surgery may be recommended.
Once the inflammation has resolved, it is important to learn why the patient developed bursitis in the first place. Aside from trauma, if it’s a mechanical problem then it must be corrected or the problem will return again. Just like a car that has come out of alignment, if your joints and muscles do not move the way they are suppose to move, they will put more stress on the surrounding structures which will wear on them leading to inflammation or arthritis in some cases. You can always buy new tires, but you can’t buy a new body, so getting to the route of the problem is a key to longevity.
The key to diagnosing the faulty movement pattern is a functional movement screen, which includes fundamental movements like: bending forward, bending backwards, rotating, squatting and moving the arms around.

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