Definition of Bursitis
Bursitis, a type of inflammation, can be defined as the inflammation of bursae of the body.
What are Bursae?
Bursae are soft, fluid-filled sacs that surround the bones, muscles, and tendons of joints. These sacs may become inflamed as a result of pressure, trauma, or repetitive movement. When bursae are inflamed, the result is a painful condition known as bursitis.
Bursitis can occur in any joint, but the elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips are the most likely locations.
Causes of Bursitis
The main cause of bursitis is the overuse of a joint over a short time period or by repetitive movements over a longer period.
Leaning or kneeling on a hard surface may lead to pressure trauma in the elbows or knees; the shoulders may suffer repeated stress from motions in which the arms are lifted above the head. Sitting on a hard surface for a long period of time may cause bursae in the hip joints to become inflamed. In some cases, bursal inflammation is due to an infection
Bursitis is more likely to develop in people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, diabetes, or gout. Bursitis, a type of inflammation, is relatively common, especially during middle age. Similarly, occupations that require repetitive movements, such as playing a musical instrument, gardening, laying flooring, carpentry, or throwing a baseball, may lead to bursitis.
Symptoms of Bursitis
The primary symptoms of bursitis are pain and stiffness in the affected joint. The joint may appear red or swollen. The pain that occurs in bursitis is typically sharp, dull, constant and intermittent. Although it rarely is serious, inflammation of the bursae (fluid-filled sacs cushioning a joint’s bones, muscles, and tendons) can be painful in the short term and debilitating if it develops into a chronic condition.
Diagnosis of Bursitis
There is no specific test to confirm a diagnosis of bursitis. Most often, diagnosis is made after a physical examination is performed and a thorough history is taken of any pertinent injuries or work-related activity. The type of pain and which types of movements worsen or improve the pain are important clues for diagnosis.
Treatment of Bursitis
Drug treatment: Prompt treatment of an acute bout of bursitis is important in order to avoid chronic joint inflammation or flare-ups.
Medications: Oral or topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to ease the inflammation and pain. Steroid injections may be indicated in cases that do not improve with these treatments. However, all of these medicines can cause serious side effects and drug interactions especially if used for long term.
Alternative treatment & lifestyle measures: Lifestyle measures include rest, elevation, and immobilization of the affected joint. Ice may be used to reduce the inflammation in acute cases of bursitis, but it usually is not helpful for chronic cases. Steps to prevent future bouts of the disorder include avoiding repetitive movements, relieving pressure on elbow and knee joints, and avoiding prolonged sitting on hard surfaces. Frequent breaks should be taken while performing any activity that could cause a flare-up.
Herbal therapy: Using a herbal medicine such as Provailen can help improve bursitis over a period of weeks. Provailen not only helps resolve pain in bursitis but also greatly improves joint mobility and flexibility.