Bursitis: Important Information For Bursitis Sufferers

Many individuals suffer from Bursitis each and every year.

Fortunately, there are treatment methods to help the pain and allow the sufferer to live a fulfilling and high quality life.

Reviewing the following information on Bursitis should answer most of your questions and help you better understand the condition.

What is Bursitis?

There are fluid filled sacs located throughout the body in areas of friction. These friction areas are generally between bone or tendon and skin.

The fluid filled sacs are called bursae together and one is called a bursa.

Approximately 160 bursae are located throughout the body and they secrete a fluid that provides lubrication to these body parts.

When one of these bursae is injured either through consistent activity or from a direct trauma then bursitis results.

There are two types of bursitis which may be a result of an infection of the synovial fluid or from too much movement.

This is obviously painful and bursitis sufferers are always in search of pain relief.

Bursitis Symptoms

The symptoms of Bursitis are painful.

This is because the tendons and bones that are affected by Bursitis swell and cause pain for the individual.

Movement becomes difficult and painful when the bursae sacs swell as well.

The foot, shoulder, hand and wrist, knee, and elbow are the joints that are most often affected by Bursitis.

Causes of Bursitis

The most common causes of bursitis include crystal deposits, trauma, and infection.

Crystal Deposits

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, scleroderma, and other similar problems experience crystal deposits in and around their joints because the body is unable to metabolize uric acid properly.


There are two types of trauma that may cause Bursitis.

These are chronic and acute. With chronic traumas repetitive motions cause the inflammatory Bursitis.

For example, throwing a baseball is a repetitive motion that over time can cause inflammatory Bursitis.

Acute trauma is a direct trauma to any part of the body that results in blood filling up the bursa.

The immediate collection of blood causes swelling and pain, i.e. Bursitis.


Septic Bursitis occurs when bacteria or organisms infect the bursae near the skin’s surface. Some individuals are more prone to developing Septic Bursitis than others.

For example, diabetics, alcoholics, those with specific traumas, kidney diseases, and those on steroids are at a higher risk for developing Septic Bursitis.

Diagnosing Bursitis

Doctors use a variety of methods to diagnose bursitis.

The first appointment the doctor generally asks for a history of symptoms, their onset, and what activities initiate the pain.

Any other medical problems will be discussed and considered during the diagnosis as well. Sometimes doctors will remove some synovial fluid from the joint to check for infection.

Frequently the elbow and the knee become infected so it is important to check the fluid. Blood testing is also important to rule out any other diseases, infections, or the like.

In some situations X-rays are used to rule out other problems as well, but this is not the first method of diagnosing Bursitis.

Treating Bursitis

The frequent treatment prescribed by doctors for bursitis is P-R-I-C-E-M. This stands for protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation, and medication.

In situations where this method does not work and the bursitis is not infectious then corticosteroid is injected into the affected joint to reduce inflammation.

These injections may cause complications. As a result, the corticosteroid may only be injected three times per year and at intervals of at least 30 days.

In situations where the individual has infectious bursitis then the bursa must be drained. A needle is inserted into the joint and the fluid is withdrawn.

Antibiotics are also prescribed to rid the body of the infection.

In rare circumstances when the infection is widespread oral antibiotics do not work and the individual must be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics.

Bursitis Patients

If you think you have Bursitis then you should visit your medical doctor.

There are treatment options for Bursitis that can help you manage your pain.

The longer you wait the more pain you will experience so make an appointment as soon as possible to get your Bursitis under control.

Those already affected with Bursitis should take care of themselves, avoid repetitive movements, and always take care to use preventive measures to avoid additional Bursitis pain.

Here are the top 9 home remedies for bursitis

1. Cold Compresses

When dealing with swelling and pain due to bursitis, cold compresses are a good remedy.

The cold temperature helps bring down the initial swelling and reduces pain by numbing the affected area.

It also helps reduce tenderness and inflammation.

Cold compresses are usually most effective when used within 24 to 48 hours of developing bursitis.

  1. Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin towel.
  2. Put the ice pack gently on the affected joint for about 15 minutes.
  3. After removing it, elevate the joint above your heart and rest.
  4. Repeat a few times a day until you get relief.


Note: Do not apply ice directly on the skin as it can cause frostbite.

2. Warm Compresses

After 48 hours for acute bursitis or anytime for chronic bursitis, warm compresses are very helpful. They help improve blood flow to the affected joint, reduce stiffness and fight inflammation.

  1. Dampen a thin towel with warm (not scalding) water.
  2. Apply it on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Repeat a few times a day.


You can also use a hot water bottle or a heating pad as a warm compress. You can even wash the affected area with warm water.

3. Massage

Massage helps reduce the discomforts from a sore joint. It improves circulation and reduces swelling and stiffness. It also helps you relax.

  1. You can do massage yourself or get it done by an expert.
  2. Heat up some olive, coconut, sesame or mustard oil.
  3. Apply the warm oil on the affected area.
  4. Massage using gentle yet firm pressure for 10 minutes.
  5. Put a warm towel on the affected area.
  6. Repeat a few times daily until your condition improves.
  7. Note: Avoid massage if infection is causing your bursitis.


4. Castor Oil

Castor oil is another effective remedy to reduce pain and swelling in the joints.

The ricinoleic acid in castor oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain and minimize inflammation. It even helps improve mobility of the joint.

  1. Soak a piece of wool flannel in cold-pressed castor oil.
  2. Put it on the affected joint and cover it with a plastic wrap.
  3. Place a heating pad or hot water bottle on it and cover that with an old towel.
  4. Leave it on for 30 to 40 minutes, then remove it.
  5. Gently rub the oily residue left on the skin or rinse it off with warm water.
  6. Use this treatment 3 or 4 times a week.


5. Ginger

Ginger is a natural pain reliever that can help reduce the pain and discomforts of bursitis. It also contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities similar to aspirin or ibuprofen.

In addition, it improves circulation, which promotes quick healing.

  • Wrap 3 to 4 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it tightly. Put this in hot water for 30 seconds. Allow it to cool, then place it on the affected joint for 10 minutes. Do this 2 or 3 times a day.
  • Another option is to massage the affected area with ginger oil a few times daily.
  • Also, boil 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger in 2 cups of water and let it simmer or 10 minutes. Strain, add raw honey for taste and drink it 2 or 3 times a day.


6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another commonly used remedy for bursitis. It helps restore the alkalinity of your body, which in turn reduces inflammation.

In addition, minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus in apple cider vinegar help balance fluids.

  1. Soak a thin towel in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and use it to wrap the affected area for several hours each day.
  2. Also, mix 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little raw honey in a glass of water. Drink this tonic twice daily for a few days.


7. Turmeric

The yellow pigment called curcumin in turmeric is a very effective anti-inflammatory agent. Hence, turmeric is excellent for reducing pain, swelling and inflammation. It can treat both acute and chronic joint pain.

  • Boil 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk. Add a little raw honey and drink it twice daily for at least a few days.
  • Alternatively, take a curcumin supplement daily after consulting your doctor.


Note: Avoid excessive intake of turmeric as it may interfere with certain medications, such as blood thinners.

8. White Willow Bark

Herbal experts suggest using white willow bark to relieve bursitis. A compound known as salicin in this herb works as a natural painkiller. It also helps reduce inflammation and swelling.

  • Add ½ teaspoon of dried white willow bark to a cup of boiling water. Cover, steep for 15 minutes and strain it. Drink this tea 2 times a day.
  • Alternatively, take a white willow bark supplement of daily after consulting your doctor.


Note: This herb is not suitable for children and people taking blood-thinning medications. 

9. Milk of Magnesia

Milk of magnesia can fight inflammation and pain in the joints. Being rich in magnesium, which is an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic substance, it can reduce inflammation in the body.

  • Take 1 teaspoon of milk of magnesia with a glass of water twice daily for a week.
  • Also, include magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as dark leafy greens, bananas, beans, lentils and oats.
  • Alternatively, take a magnesium supplement after consulting your doctor.