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Bursitis Beyond the Pain

Beyond the Pain: Understanding Bursitis

What Is Bursitis?

The human body is capable of so many things, but that means it is also prone to so many different injuries and conditions. One of the more complicated conditions is something that can affect many different joints in the body. It’s called bursitis.

Bursitis is a medical condition that causes painful swelling in the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac located at multiple points throughout your body. Bursae (plural) primarily cushion the spaces around bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints. The job of these bursae is to help decrease the friction between all these structures. 

Where does bursitis happen? 

Bursitis can develop in any of the 150+ bursae in your body. The condition develops mostly in joints where there is a lot of pressure, or joints that tend to do a lot of repetitive movements. The most common places for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip. But it is important to note that it can develop anywhere, even your big toe!  Although healthcare providers may use a specific name to describe different types of bursitis, they're all the same problem, and they involve inflammation of a bursa.

Causes of Bursitis

The primary cause of this disorder is repetitive motions. These include lifting heavy items at work, throwing a baseball, and other high-intensity activities. Spending much time in positions that strain a specific body part can cause bursitis. When your muscles or tendons get tight or increase the pressure of the bursae is when bursitis can occur. Repetitive sports, like baseball, golf, tennis, or shoveling snow or dirt can also bring on bursitis.

Symptoms of bursitis 

Each person might experience the symptoms of bursitis differently, especially depending on where it is happening. However, the most common symptoms include pain, limited motion, localized tenderness, or redness or swelling if the bursa is near the skin's surface.

A patient with chronic bursitis may experience repeated pain attacks, tenderness, and swelling. Besides deterioration of muscles, these may cause a limited range of motion in that affected joint.

What are my treatment options?

Depending on where bursitis manifests in your body, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional about the condition. Most cases of bursitis utilize conservative treatments to help with the inflammation. 

Making sure you take the time to rest and ice the area and avoid activities that could worsen it is one way to start the healing process. 

 If your condition persists for over a week it would be prudent to visit your primary care provider. Your doctor may prescribe different medications or, if you’re seeking a conservative treatment, they might refer you to a physical therapist

Physical therapy is an alternative treatment option that helps you strengthen muscles, and enhance your joint's range of motion. The physical therapists at Buffalo Chiropractic and Physical Therapy are also fully trained in multiple modalities, both passive and active, and are able to create a treatment plan just for you. If your primary care doctor has recommended you to try physical therapy for your bursitis, then it's time to give us a call today to help make your pain go away!


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