How Do You Successfully Treat a Bursitis?
Treatment of bursitis begins with avoidance of the aggravating activity. If the injury was traumatic (eg a fall), avoidance is easy.
Non-traumatic onset bursitis is commonly related to "how you move" or your biomechanics. In these cases, you should be assessed by a health professional who understands how subtle changes in how you move can cause injury. Experienced physiotherapists are the ideal health professional for discovering "what" has caused your bursitis, "how" to fix it, and "what" you need to do to stop it occurring again.
Immediate Bursitis Treatment
Until you seek the advice of your doctor of physiotherapist, we recommend that you apply ice to the area to decrease bursa inflammation. We generally recommend that you apply a large ice pack on the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes. You should repeat the ice application 2 to 3 times a day until your physiotherapist advises you to cease.
Bursitis symptoms can have other causes as well. If you suspect bursitis, be sure to consult your physiotherapist. It is not uncommon that many people with bursitis also have other conditions, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, which can make it hard to diagnose. You can also have torn tendons or ligaments that are causing the bursa to become irritated.
After assessing your biomechanics, your physiotherapist may also recommend specific exercises (stretches or strengthening) to improve your pain and ability to move, plus prevent a recurrence.
Untreated bursitis can result in calcification (bone growing) within the bursa and even nastier pain and disability.
Your physiotherapist may use electrotherapy modalities to hasten your healing rate and reduce your bursitis inflammation.
Bursitis responds better to different forms of electrotherapy, which can be discussed with your physiotherapist.
Sometimes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are prescribed. They are usually ineffective since the bursa is isolated from your blood stream. Gel applications appear to be more effective.
Ideally you will need to reduce weight placed through the joint and adjacent bursa. This is obviously more important when the bursa is on the lower limb. However, some sports eg gymnasts do weight bear through the upper limb.
Weight loss may be recommended if you are overweight to reduce the stress placed through any weight-bearing joint and bursa.
Hydrocortisone injections appear to be effective treatment for bursitis. Unfortunately there are potential side effects that should be discussed with your doctor.
The most effective injections are those performed under ultrasound guidance.
Common Bursitis Treatments
FAQ's about Bursitis Treatment
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