Every 1 in 31 US citizens suffers from bursitis. This makes the total number to a whopping 8.7 million. This number must have left you wondering what exactly this disease is/ bursae are the fluid-filled sacs around the joints. When you move them, these bursae provide lubrication. They also act as a cushion against any fall. That's why your joints don't get dislocated whenever you fall.
For your joints to get damaged, the first bursae needs to get damaged. But when these sacs become inflamed, it leads to excruciating pain. It becomes difficult to move. Very often, the area becomes red and swollen. This disease is called bursitis.
There is no fixed reason for what causes bursitis. You will find that most ballet dancers develop hip bursitis, runners develop knee bursitis and gym enthusiasts develop shoulder bursitis. It indicates that when you subject a particular joint to excessive use, it gets more prone to the development of bursitis.
What causes bursitis?
Bursitis is caused by an injury to the joint. Other underlying factors can be:
Excessive pressure on the joints: Few jobs like manual labor put excessive pressure on joints. This leads o a decrease in the quantity of the synovial fluid. Also, if you are obese or over-weight, it leads to the same condition.
Accidents and falls: Even though the bursa sacs are themselves shock-absorber, they may get damaged in case of falls or accidents.
Over-exertion of the joints: Only obese people or manual laborers do not over-exert the joints. Long sedentary working hours or excessive exercise routine also causes constant wear and tear of these joints.
Autoimmune diseases: Many diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can lead to bursitis. In these diseases, the bone begins to degenerate. As a result, the synovial fluid also decreases. It puts extra pressure on the joints.
Infections: Many microbes affect synovial fluid and decrease their quantity. In absence of a lubricating medium, the bones begin to rub against each other. It leads to gradual degeneration and then constant pain.
Immune-deficiency diseases: Diseases like HIV or hepatitis C make the immune system weak. So, when a microbe affects the synovial fluid, the body is unable to fight it back.
Signs and Symptoms
Joint pains are common. So, there is a huge probability that you might confuse between different types of joint pains. These are the signs and symptoms of bursitis:
Joint pain while moving or when pressed at the spot
Joint gets swollen
Redness around the joint
9 Tips To Bursitis-Free Life
Bursitis is a painful experience. The pain can stay for 6-12 hours or even stretch for several weeks. During this period, you will face difficulty in movement and will be in extreme pain. Taking medication can solve the problem only for a short duration.
If you wish to get rid of your bursitis, be sure to follow these 9 magic tips:
1. Maintain body weight: Bursitis occurs when your joints face wear and tear. If you are obese or overweight, your body weight puts undue pressure on your joints, especially your hips and knees. As a result, the bursae gets space cramped and the synovial fluid decreases.
Your bones face friction while moving and this leads to severe pain. The best way to get rid of this pain is to control your weight. You should consult your doctor before embarking on any diet plan or exercise regime. Just because you have bursitis does not mean that you are overweight. Moreover, doing unsuitable exercises can further aggravate the situation.
2. Eat a balanced diet: Your diet plays an important role in managing bursitis. Certain foods further decrease the quantity of synovial fluid while some increase it. Avoid acidic foods and starchy foods. Stay away from fast food and alcohol. Include magnesium-rich items in your diet.
For that, carrot, celery, avocados are the perfect match. You should also take foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Along with that, make sure that your diet contains a proper proportion of all vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
3. Exercise regularly: One of the prime causative factors for bursitis is the constant wear and tear of the joints. The best way to keep joints in perfect condition is by doing regular exercises. You do not need to do heavy lifting or heavy gym sessions. 10 minutes of stretching followed by yoga or running are enough to serve the purpose.
If you are already suffering from bursitis, never try to do the heavy lifting. It will put excessive pressure on the joints and will worsen the condition. If you are already suffering from bursitis, you can take the services of a physiotherapist instead. It will help you in getting the joints back to their original shape while not over-straining it.
4. Maintain posture: Maintaining the best posture is tough in the office. When you sit for long hours, you put undue strain on your muscles. They get tense and irritate the bursa sac. Now, that everyone is working from home, it is even more difficult. Sitting continuously for long hours in a crooked body position can lead to bursitis.
So, ensure that you sit with your spine straight and neck in proper position even when at home. If you face difficulty in doing that, invest in a good shoulder or neck support pad. It will help you in pain management as well. If you exercise regularly, be sure to keep the knees and hips in proper alignment while lifting or doing other exercises. People often start using heavy lifting equipment without consulting a trainer.
They do not pay attention to their knees or hips or elbows. It leads to bursitis and in some cases, joint dislocation too.
5. 8 hours of sleep: Sleep is an important aspect of a healthy body. When you are sleep-deprived, your body is more prone to infections and accidents. Make sure that you take at least 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day. If you are already a patient of bursitis, you might face difficulty in finding a comfortable sleeping posture. Use soft cushions or pillows to support your aching joint.
6. Ice pack/hot compress: Bursitis gets tricky for it can go away with an ice pack and heat compress both. It depends on the patient. If you plan to use an ice compress, use a silicon pouch to keep the ice together.
You can also tie the ice cubes in a towel and then put it over the affected area. If your body reacts to the heat compress in a better way, use a hot water bag to warm up the affected joint. It reduces inflammation and reduces pain. However, this differs from person to person. So, always test it if you are using it for the first time.
7. Massage: The synovial fluid gets accumulated around the joints with regular massage. You can take help from a professional or self-massage the affected area. Warm up the oil a bit and then massage for best results. You should use a crepe bandage after the massage for relief for longer hours. Massage helps in better blood circulation and muscle healing around the affected joint.
8. Alternative medicines: If you are unsatisfied with the medicines given to you, you can also try alternative treatments. You can try a chiropractor, Ayurveda, acupuncture, and sauna. These treatment methods are age-old and lots of people claim to have benefitted from it. Chinese therapy uses needles to manage the pain.
9. Positive outlook: Bursitis is a disease known for its recurring outbreak. It may go away after 2 hours and not come for 6 months and then suddenly recur for a few weeks. This frequent and unsure way makes you lose hope. The key to fighting bursitis is being motivated. You should keep just one thing in mind that you can get rid of it.
Follow a strict diet plan, exercise regularly, and be positive in your approach. If you exercise thinking that it will not affect your condition, it will serve no purpose. The best way to stay motivated is by joining bursitis-fighting clubs, or some new hobby classes. This will keep you inspired to fight back against the disease. Also, you get to meet people who face the same issues as you.
Fighting bursitis is not tough. It needs your dedication, perseverance, and motivation. With regular exercise, a good diet, and a positive outlook, you will surely be able to keep the pain in control. If you have acute pain, use support aids like braces, bands, etc.
When you use them, you ease off body pressure from the joints. This lowers the pain and also allows the joints to heal. You can also take help from the Maryland pain and spine center for professional help. Here, you can discuss your issue with the doctors and get the best help from paramedics. You will get a personalized recovery plan based on your health.