Bursitis in Your Elbow or Shoulder, What Now?

Bursitis typically arises from overuse and frequently occurs in the shoulder, knee, hip, elbow, and ankle. It is a painful condition that can significantly impact your daily life. Sometimes, the pain can be so severe that it hampers your ability to function. Bursitis often takes a while to heal, and there is a high chance it will recur, especially if the underlying cause is not addressed. Do you have bursitis in your elbow, shoulder, or another joint? In this blog, we delve into what bursitis is, its possible causes, how to prevent it, and how chiropractic care can aid the healing process.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis can occur in various joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, ankle, and Achilles tendon. It involves the irritation and inflammation of a small, fluid-filled sac (bursa). The bursa helps reduce friction, allowing smooth movement. It is located around a joint, between bones, muscles, and tendons, acting as a kind of shock absorber.

Repeated movements, overuse, or injury can irritate the bursa. Normally, the bursa contains a small amount of fluid. During inflammation, this increases, causing the area to become red, warm, and swollen. This, in turn, causes pain and limits movement, making daily activities challenging. Swelling and redness are protective reactions from your body; extra blood is sent to the inflamed area, including white blood cells that promote healing.

Causes of Bursitis

Bursitis has various causes; repeated movements, overuse, injury, or underlying conditions are often to blame. Here are some examples:

  • Shoulder Bursitis: Imagine regularly holding your arms above your head, such as when painting a ceiling. Your shoulders are not naturally meant to stay in this position. They can handle some stress, but day after day of working with your arms overhead can cause friction between the tendons and the bursa under the bone at the top of your shoulder. Too much friction leads to irritation.
  • Knee Bursitis: Your knee functions as a hinge, connecting your thigh bone, shinbone, and kneecap, allowing you to walk, run, jump, and perform other daily activities. The bursa in your knee sits between the thigh bone, shinbone, and the tendon above the kneecap. Frequent kneeling (gardening, DIY tasks) or excessive knee use, such as in sports or heavy activities, can irritate and inflame the bursa. Other factors, like altered gait, muscle imbalance, or impacts on your knee, can also cause bursitis.
  • Elbow Bursitis : Regularly leaning on your elbows, such as when sitting at a desk, increases the risk of bursitis. Other causes include a hard knock or bump to the elbow and activities that involve frequent elbow movement or bending.

Symptoms of Bursitis

How do you know if you have bursitis? It starts with tenderness in the joint where the bursa is irritated. Often, it feels warm, and the area around the joint is swollen and red. As the inflammation worsens, the pain increases, especially with joint movement (bending and extending). For instance, if you have elbow bursitis, you may struggle to lean on your elbow or lift objects. Another symptom is stiffness, making it difficult to move the affected joint smoothly. If you recognize these signals,
try to identify the cause. If the cause is not addressed, the inflammation can persist, and the pain may worsen. If symptoms do not improve or worsen, it is time to seek help. The sooner you address it, the faster the recovery.

Preventing Bursitis

Naturally, you want to avoid bursitis altogether, and taking preventive measures can help. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being more aware of your body and movements goes a long way. Here are some tips:

  • Try Strength and Stability Exercises: Prevent complaints by strengthening your muscles with exercises. Train the muscles around joints prone to bursitis. Strong muscles protect the joints and therefore the bursae.
  • Maintain Good Posture: Good posture has many benefits for your overall health and helps prevent bursitis. Be more mindful of your posture, both when standing and sitting, to avoid putting too much pressure on your joints. Use proper lifting techniques and employ aids when possible.
  • Avoid Pressure and Friction: If you work in a profession where you use certain joints frequently, like construction, healthcare, factory work, and transportation, be extra cautious. Use all available aids, such as well-fitting shoes, knee pads, ergonomic chairs, and cushions to reduce the risk of bursitis.
  • Listen to Your Body: Do you make repetitive movements during work or hobbies? Take regular breaks. If a joint starts to irritate or hurt, it’s a signal from your body. Listen to it and rest. Try to change your position frequently to avoid overuse.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: The heavier you are, the more pressure is on your joints. Being overweight can be one of the causes of bursitis in the knees, hips, and ankles. Extra weight increases joint stress and promotes the inflammatory process.

Chiropractic Care for Bursitis

If you visit a doctor for bursitis, you are usually prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications. These numb the pain, increasing the risk that you continue overloading the joint. Sometimes, an injection with an anti-inflammatory is given, but at Avant Garde Chiropractic, we advocate for natural healing.

Chiropractic treatments assist in the recovery of muscles and joints. We not only relieve the symptoms but also work with you to identify the cause. Why are you experiencing this, and how can you prevent overuse? The treatment for bursitis mainly involves muscle-relaxing techniques combined with softening the connective tissue around the bursa. We may also use muscle stretches, trigger point therapy, or dry needling. You will also receive exercises to speed up your recovery and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Would you like to naturally recover from bursitis? Make an appointment directly; you do not need a referral from a doctor.

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