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What Most People Don’t Realize About Bursitis

What Most People Don’t Realize About Bursitis

Arthritis isn’t the only cause of joint pain. If you engage in activities that involve repetitive movements, like gardening or painting, and have pain in the joint you use the most, you may have bursitis — inflammation of the bursae. 

With rest and treatment, bursitis goes away within a few weeks. But it can return.

At LiveWell Pain Management in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, our physical medicine and interventional pain management physician, Dr. Nora Taha, takes an integrative and holistic approach to pain. She understands the mechanics behind bursitis. Dr. Taha not only wants to relieve your pain now, but she also wants to prevent future flare-ups.

Here, we share what most people don’t realize about bursitis.

About bursitis

Bursitis is inflammation and swelling of the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that serve as cushion between your soft tissue (muscle, tendon, or ligament) and bone. Bursa prevents your soft tissue from rubbing against your bone. 

These fluid-filled sacs are all over your body, but bursitis most often affects your joints. You develop bursitis when you engage in activities that put too much pressure on the bursae. For example, you may get knee bursitis if you spend hours kneeling while laying carpet, or shoulder bursitis if you're a pitcher on a baseball team.

In addition to knee pain and shoulder pain, bursitis may occur in your elbows, hips, or feet.

Bursitis, arthritis, or tendonitis?

Pain, stiffness, and inflammation are the most common symptoms of bursitis. These are also common symptoms of other joint pain conditions like arthritis and tendonitis. How do you tell the difference?

Bursitis and tendonitis are common overuse injuries. If you have joint pain from overuse, your pain should go away when you let your joint rest. Arthritis, on the other hand, is a chronic condition that occurs from joint damage. Rest may help arthritis pain, but it can turn chronic.

If you have joint pain that’s affecting your ability to manage your daily routine, you should schedule a consultation to see what’s going on. Receiving an accurate diagnosis ensures you get the right care so your pain goes away.

We can diagnose bursitis following a physical exam, but we may order X-rays or lab tests to rule out other causes. 

Treating bursitis

Once we know it’s bursitis we’re dealing with, Dr. Taha designs a plan to reduce your inflammation and pain. The number one treatment for bursitis is rest. Stopping the activity that caused your inflammation prevents further damage and gives the bursae time to heal.

We may also recommend rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE method), and anti-inflammatory medication. If your job is the cause of your bursitis, we refer you to physical or occupational therapy to design a plan that reduces stress and overuse of your joint. 

Our goal for bursitis treatment is to stop your pain and prevent a recurrence.

If you have joint pain that’s affecting your quality of life, don’t ignore it. Call our office today or request an appointment online. 

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