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My Shoulder Bursitis Won T Go Away

by Lyndon Langley
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My Shoulder Bursitis Won T Go Away

My Shoulder Bursitis Won T Go Away

I was in my mid-30s and working as an assistant manager at a big retail store when I started to feel something odd. My left shoulder felt like it had a bad case of rickets. It didn’t hurt, but it wouldn’t move without feeling stiff and awkward. My wife noticed it too, so we went to see our family doctor. He couldn’t find anything seriously wrong with me (thank goodness!), but he did order some X-rays because he thought it might be bursitis — inflammation of the fluid sac that surrounds the joint called the “bursa.”
Bursitis can happen anywhere where there’s a hard bone rubbing against another hard bone. In fact, it’s most common around joints, such as the hip, knee, elbow, wrist, finger, thumb, ankle and even between fingers. The bursa acts as a buffer zone for the bones. When you put pressure on the bursa, it swells up and becomes inflamed. This causes pain, which is why you’ll often hear people describe their pain as sharp, dull or throbbing. Pain from bursitis tends to come and go based on activity levels but will generally increase over time.
The doctor gave us two options: physical therapy, which would help strengthen my shoulder muscles, or anti-inflammatory drugs, which could decrease the discomfort. We opted for the former and soon found out how painful this condition could be!
At least it wasn’t long before I got relief. Within about three weeks after my diagnosis, I experienced some improvement. However, within six months, I’d gone back to square one. And by year’s end, nothing had changed. So I underwent rotator cuff surgery in 2007. Afterward, I was told that my shoulder might never get better. Thankfully, I’m still mobile, although I have limited range of motion, and I’m able to work productively. But if I hadn’t been blessed with a strong support network, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
What happens during an acute bout of bursitis?
You can get bursitis anywhere that bones rub together. For example, it can occur in the following areas:
Wrist – Between the radius bone and ulna bone
Elbow – At the point where these two bones meet
Hip – Where the thighbone meets the pelvis
Knee – Where the tibia bone meets the fibula bone
Shin – Where the upper leg bone meets the lower leg bone
Shoulder – In the glenohumeral joint, where the humerus bone meets the scapula
When you’re experiencing bursitis, you could be dealing with any combination of the following symptoms:
Dull ache
Loss of function
Inability to move the affected part
Heat sensitivity
After you’ve identified the specific location of your pain, you then need to determine whether the cause is traumatic or non-traumatic. Traumatic bursitis is caused by injury, while non-traumatic bursitis is due to disease or infection. Non-traumatic cases tend to resolve faster than traumatic ones. Here are some examples of non-traumatic bursitis:
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sjögren’s syndrome
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Trauma-related bursitis typically occurs after an injury or fall, and the symptoms include:
A sharp pain that hurts worse when moving the affected area
Redness surrounding the area of irritation
Necrotizing boils
Inflammation of soft tissue
This type of bursitis requires immediate medical attention, especially if you experience fever, chills, severe pain or tenderness.
If your doctor suspects that you have trauma-related bursitis, you should let him know immediately. You’ll want to make sure you report all injuries (including falls) related to your problem. Also, try to remember what happened each day before your symptoms began. For instance, were you taking medication, or engaging in strenuous activities? Was someone else involved in your accident? Did you participate in contact sports? All of these questions are important to answer accurately. Your doctor wants to know exactly what role you played in causing the bursitis.
Next, learn more about what treatment options are available for bursitis.
Bursitis Treatment Options
Your physician has several treatment options for relieving the pain associated with bursitis. Two main categories exist: conservative treatment methods and surgical procedures.
Conservative treatments include rest, ice, compression and elevation, massage, ultrasound, acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation, chiropractic manipulation, injections and medications. These treatments target the inflammation itself rather than the source of the pain. As mentioned earlier, steroids are also used to treat bursitis. Although effective, they do carry some risks including increased bruising, cataracts, infections, thinning hair and mood swings. Steroids are not recommended for children under age 16.
Surgery is reserved for those who haven’t responded well to other forms of treatment. Surgical removal of the bursa is rarely performed, but occasionally patients undergo arthroscopic debridement to remove loose debris from inside the joint. Arthroscopy involves making small incisions in the skin using tiny cameras inserted through portals. A scope attached to a light source provides illumination, allowing doctors to examine the interior of the joint via computer screen. Once the area is cleaned, the surgeon uses instruments to cut away scar tissue, clean up cartilage damage and repair ligament tears.
Another option is to inject medicine directly into the swollen area. Doctors use a needle to deliver medication into the bursa sac, reducing pain and swelling. There are many different types of medicines that can be injected into the bursa; however, steroids remain the preferred method of treatment.
To read more about bursitis and its treatment, follow the links on the next page.
Acute bursitis responds best to homeopathic remedies, such as Arnica montana, Calendula officinalis, Hypericum perfoliatum, Silica gel and Zincum metabisulphite. Homeopathy works differently than conventional medicine. Instead of treating the body’s imbalances through pharmaceuticals, homeopathics aim to stimulate the immune system to heal itself naturally.

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