Bursitis is a condition that causes inflammation of bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between tissue and bone. There are many bursae located throughout the body, but the most commonly affected bursae are the ones located near large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. Bursitis typically develops in individuals over the age of 40 who exercise vigorously multiple days a week. Knowing this, the team at Southwest Spine and Pain Center encourages patients to gradually build up their exercise routine to reduce their risk of bursitis.
Patients who suffer from bursitis typically develop intense pain symptoms that may worsen with movement. Furthermore, pain symptoms will often intensify when calcium deposits are present. As patients prolong treatment, they increase their risk of developing a condition called adhesive capsulitis, which is also known as “frozen shoulder.” This ailment causes immobility and significant pain in patients who are affected by bursitis of the shoulders. Additional bursitis symptoms may include redness, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness around the affected area.
As we mentioned previously, bursitis is typically caused by repetitive motions from exercising or daily, high-risk activities, such as gardening, shoveling, scrubbing, painting, raking, carpentry, construction work, and more. Patients involved in intramural sports leagues may also be at risk of bursitis from the repetitive throwing, pitching, and swinging in tennis, baseball, softball, and golf. Bursitis may also develop in patients who maintain poor posture or do little stretching before exercising. Lastly, a sudden, serious injury or underlying condition, such as gout and arthritis can also lead to the development of bursitis.
Treatment for bursitis typically begins with conservative measures, such as rest, hot and cold therapy, immobilization or elevation, and compression, if necessary. Taking over-the-counter pain medications may also help control discomfort from this condition. If these therapies fail to provide adequate pain relief, a Southwest Spine and Pain Center physician may recommend steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain. A series of injections over the span of several weeks/months may be necessary to ensure complete pain relief from bursitis. An SWSP physician may recommend supplemental therapies, such as physical therapy, to complement the pain management portion of the patient’s treatment. In severe cases, surgery may be essential to treat bursitis.