How to Treat Bursitis Naturally
What is bursitis?
Bursitis is a condition where one or more of the body’s 150 bursae gets swollen or inflamed. A bursa (plural bursae) is a fluid-filled sac that sits between the moving parts of your body, creating small cushions between the bones, muscles, tendons, and skin. Joints like your shoulders, knees, hips, and elbows all rely on these small sacs for optimal movement. So how do you treat bursitis naturally? Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of bursitis first.
What are the causes of bursitis?
Irritation to a bursa can be caused by anything, even something as simple as taking a heavy bag of groceries from the back of your car. The leading cause of bursitis is when a repetitive movement is performed by a joint, or a sudden force is exerted to it. This can be as a result of your occupation or a sport you like to play. If you have a job where you are continuously kneeling, lifting things, typing, or standing for long periods, you might be at an increased risk of developing bursitis. Sports like baseball, tennis, golf, and jogging are also known to cause bursitis because of the repetitive motions performed by the elbow and knee joints.
Certain diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout may cause or aggravate bursitis. Being overweight is another risk factor for developing bursitis. The extra weight you carry can put pressure on your hips and knees, causing bursae to become swollen and inflamed. Lastly, other injuries can irritate the bursa and instigate bursitis because you must alter the way you move. For example, a foot injury causing a limp can irritate the knee bursa.
These are the most common types of bursitis:
- Subacromial bursitis- inflammation of the bursa in the shoulder joint.
- Olecranon bursitis- inflammation of the bursa on the outer elbow.
- Trochanteric bursitis- inflammation of the bursa between the outer hip and the skin.
- Prepatellar bursitis- inflammation of the bursa on the kneecap.
- Retrocalcaneal bursitis- inflammation of the bursa between the heel and Achilles tendon.
What are the symptoms of bursitis?
If you have bursitis in one of your joints, you are probably experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain when moving a specific joint, tendon or muscle
- Swelling around the affected area
- Reduced mobilization of the joint/limb
- The affected area may feel tender or warm when you touch it
- The skin around the affected area may appear red
Can Bursitis Cause Back Pain?
Trochanteric bursitis, or Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS), is a condition where the large bursa of the hip joint, where the femur and pelvis bones meet, becomes inflamed. This painful type of bursitis can cause symptoms across the lower back, with pain sometimes radiating down the leg. Trochanteric bursitis mimics the symptoms of low back pain and osteoarthritis, and it is essential to see your healthcare practitioner for the correct diagnosis. Trochanteric bursitis is often seen in women, but it can occur in active and sedentary people of any age. If GTPS causes your back pain, your healthcare practitioner may provide you with a treatment plan consisting of physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. There are also ways to treat it naturally. Be sure to check out our Low Back Pain Relief Guide here. We included information that may help you fix your low back pain.
How to Treat Bursitis Naturally
There are quite a few ways you can treat bursitis naturally. A chiropractor can help significantly with treating bursitis. A chiropractic adjustment can loosen the affected joints, promote flexibility and mobility again, especially in the hips.
For advanced pain relief, chiropractic clinics also offer laser therapy. The laser is a deep tissue non-invasive treatment option that has the power to eliminate or significantly reduce your pain. Five to ten brief treatments with this powerful laser are all it takes to realize life-changing results.
The laser works by flooding the tissues with photons, energizing the damaged cells, and increasing circulation to the painful area. This produces a cascade of healing responses in your body, reducing inflammation, thereby reducing or even eliminating your pain. Treatments take just a few minutes. However, the therapeutic effect continues to soothe and heal long after the procedure. There is no discomfort during treatment, only a deep, gentle warmth as your body’s cells respond to the light. There are no known side effects. It is a non-invasive therapy with long-lasting results.
The American College of Rheumatologists mention the RICE approach as one of the first principles to apply when you realize you have bursitis: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Resting the affected area and stopping any of the aggravating movements, is the first step to reducing inflammation in the bursa. You can read more about acute pain in our article here, where we discuss acute pain treatments.
Other treatments for bursitis usually consist of self-care and sometimes anti-inflammatory medications. Natural anti-inflammatory alternatives include turmeric capsules and an increased intake of omega fish oils to support joint health. You can also apply a cooling arnica ointment or ice to the affected area before wrapping the joint in a compression bandage or supportive splint or sling.
How to Treat Bursitis with Natural Preventive Techniques
After your bursitis has cleared, it is a good idea to take some preventive measures to stop inflammation from returning. Apply the following tips to your everyday routine to keep bursitis from developing:
- If your bursitis is work-related, take short breaks to rest the joint from repetitive movements.
- Wear protective padding or joint support.
- Choose a mild to moderate exercise like walking or swimming to help strengthen your muscles and keep them from becoming stiff.
- Do a proper warm-up and stretching before you play sport to reduce the chance of injury.
- Drink natural supplements like omega fish oils to support joint health.
- Reduce the number of acidic foods in your diet, add more anti-inflammatory foods, and drink more water to help eliminate acids from your body.
Remember always to seek medical help if any of your bursitis symptoms worsen. If you think your low back pain is caused by bursitis, be sure to check out our FREE GUIDE to help you eliminate your low back pain in 3 simple steps.
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