What To Do About Bursitis Pain

what to do about bursitis pain

Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes inflamed. A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that works as a protection guard between two moving body parts. There are bursae between your muscles, tendons and bones. When inflammation develops, a bursa becomes very painful. It can even be painful when you are lying down and resting. In most cases, the ailment happens in the shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists, hips and ankles.

An inflamed bursa can cause you to feel a sudden onset of pain. For instance, if you typically sleep on one side of your body and are unable to sleep one night because of hip pain, then this could be from bursitis. Other symptoms include feeling stiff and/or achy. The affected area will likely hurt more if you move it around or put pressure on it. Bursitis can also result in swelling or redness.

Is There a Way to Lower My Risk of Developing Bursitis?

You can lower your risk of developing bursitis by taking extra precautions. For example, if you have a hobby or perform exercises that require you to kneel, then use kneeling pads. You can also use additional padding under your hip, shoulder or between your knees when you’re lying on one side of your body.

Be sure to lift objects safely. When you need to lift something, bend your knees while engaging your thighs and glutes as you pick it up. This minimizes stress on the bursa within your hips. Furthermore, carrying heavy objects places stress on your shoulder joints. Help prevent bursitis pain by using a dolly, wagon or other type of wheeled cart.

Take plenty of breaks to avoid repetitive movements, and be sure to maintain a healthy weight for your height and frame. Those who are overweight experience more joint stress. It’s important to exercise regularly as stronger muscles better protect joints. Warming up and stretching before engaging in any strenuous movement also helps prevent injury.

Avoid sitting for long periods. If you have a job that involves using a computer, take frequent breaks and monitor your posture. Notice when you’re slumping in your office chair or walking with your shoulders rounding forward and correct your posture. If you start to experience pain, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor. You won’t always be able to prevent the inflammation from developing, but you can treat it when it occurs.

What is the Best Way to Alleviate My Bursitis Pain at Home?

Bursitis pain often feels better with time. Initially consider conservative treatment options. These include resting, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, elevating and applying ice on the area right after the symptoms appear to reduce inflammation.  You might be able to relieve the pain with a heating pad or with a warm bath.

Physical therapy is another conservative treatment option. The PT can stretch your body in slow and gentle ways and work to strengthen muscles like your thighs, glutes and abdomen.

How Can a Doctor Help with Bursitis?

When you make an appointment to see a doctor, he or she will complete a physical examination. Prepare for your appointment by taking notes about what you’re experiencing including a detailed description about the pain and when it started. Also make notes about your medical history and create a list of medications and any supplements that you’re taking. Write down questions that you have for your doctor about the condition.

Your doctor may ask you questions like:

  • Did the pain occur suddenly or happen gradually?
  • What hobbies or recreational activities do you participate in?
  • What does your work involve?
  • Does the pain escalate when you’re performing certain actions like climbing stairs or kneeling?
  • How have you tried to relieve the pain?
  • Was your treatment technique effective?
  • Have you experienced a fall or other injury?
 

If your doctor is  unable to confirm bursitis through a physical examination, then imaging tests (e.g., MRI, ultrasound) will likely be ordered to rule out other conditions.

You may also need lab tests to confirm the condition. Your doctor may request blood tests or a lab analysis of the fluid drained from the bursa to determine why your joint became inflamed.

Medication may be prescribed to treat your bursa. If the inflammation is due to an infection, then an antibiotic might be used to clear it. When the pain is intense, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid drug injection. This type of medication can relieve shoulder or hip pain. Injections work fast, and often, people only need between one and three over the course of a year.

In some cases, your doctor may advise you to have an inflamed bursa drained through surgical methods, but surgery is usually not necessary.

Bursitis Treatment at Oasis Orthopedic & Spine

Bursitis is a painful joint condition that can impact your ability to move with ease. The condition may diminish with conservative treatment over time. If the pain continues, consider reaching out to the experts at Oasis Orthopedic & Spine for a quality diagnosis and custom treatment plan.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: 

Oasis Orthopedic & Spine offers telehealth appointments in addition to in-person appointments.

We are dedicated to your safety during COVID-19 and are actively practicing the COVID-19 Safe Care Protocols at all of our locations so you can find the pain relief you deserve.