The bursa is a structure that is found mostly around areas where muscle and tendons slide over joints, such as the knee or shoulder. It is the bursa that helps lubricate these sliding motions to prevent damage to the underlying bony structures. When this action is compromised, the resulting inflammation is called bursitis. The most common areas where bursitis occurs are the shoulder, elbow, hip, and the kneecap. Bursitis tends to get worse as the joints move.
A common cause of bursitis is from the overuse of a joint, especially when it is under the strain of excessive and repetitive use. Placing too much continuous pressure on a bursa can also cause bursitis. For instance, the bursa that is found in the back of the elbow can become inflamed by resting on the elbows for extended periods of time.
Bursitis can also occur because of a traumatic injury. Trauma, such as a fall on the shoulder, elbow, hip, or the knee, could create this condition. As the bursa swells, it becomes less able to decrease friction. This causes any movement of the joint to be painful. If the bursa remains swollen for too long, calcium salts will invade the region and eventually create a more chronic condition known as calcific bursitis.
Bursitis can be diagnosed by a chiropractor using a history, simple examination, and by taking an x-ray of the involved joint. The calcific form of bursitis will show on the x-ray. The extent of calcium deposits within the bursa is easily visible on the film. The range of motion of the joint and the amount of palpable (feel) swelling around the joint will help determine the extent of the bursitis condition.
Treatment of Bursitis
Mountain View Pain Center can help decrease the inflammation and improve the gliding action to the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint. Our chiropractors may also utilize chiropractic manipulation to the involved joint, therapies such as alternating hot and cold packs, ultrasound, passive range of motion, and massage as part of your course of treatment. We can even treat the more difficult form of calcific bursitis by slowly breaking down the calcium deposits and applying therapies like passive motion or motion under mild traction to circulate the salts out of the joint tissue. Provided treatment is continued so that improvement can be achieved, the return of the calcium deposits should be limited.