Bursitis: What It Is, How to Prevent It and How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Bursitis: What It Is, How to Prevent It and How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Bursitis is the condition of inflammation of one or more bursae(1) (small sacs) of synovial fluid(2) in the body. These sacs are lined with a membrane that secretes a lubricating (synovial) fluid. The bursae rest at the points where muscles and tendons slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless. Bursitis occurs when movement relies on inflamed bursa making it difficult and painful. With continued movement of tendons and muscles over the inflamed bursa, the inflammation is aggravated, perpetuating the problem. Bursitis also causes the stiffening of muscles.

Bursitis should not be confused with tendinitis which is inflammation of the tendon itself. Bursitis must also be distinguished from arthritis, fracture, and nerve diseases.

Chiropractic adjustments can be effective for treating painful bursitis. The adjustments help to reduce misalignments in the spine and joints with the goal of reducing inflammation of the bursa and improving function of joints and nerves. Joint manipulation is used to loosen up related soft tissue, restore lost flexibility and alleviate pressure and friction over the affected bursa.

Typical locations for bursitis are shoulder, elbow and hip, however bursitis also occurs in the knee, heal, ankle, foot, achilles tendon and base of the big toe indicating that bursitis tends to occur near joints that perform continued or frequent repetitive motion.

Who Is At Risk for Bursitis?

Older people and those who engage in repetitive motions. It is especially important that older people stretch their bodies in healthy ways in order to make their tendons more resilient against bursitis.

People who don’t exercise. If the body is weak because of lack of physical activity, it may also be more prone to bursitis.

Sports enthusiasts and musicians. Elbow and shoulder bursitis are prevalent in this group of people who are involved in repetitive motion involving elbows and shoulders.

Gardeners and carpenters because of the repetitious nature of their joint use in the knees. Knee, kneecap, elbow and shoulder bursitis are prevalent in this group.

Carpet layers and plumbers and people who work on their knees. Kneecap bursitis is prevalent in this group.

People at work or play who overuse particular joints.

People with poor posture.

Those who engage in sports without stretching or conditioning before the exercise.

People with anatomic deformities which may add stress to a bursa sac.

People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, or thyroid disorders.

People with spinal abnormalities.

People with hip injuries; they are more susceptible to hip bursitis(3).

Less often, unusual reactions to medication may also increase a person's risk of bursitis.

An infection may occasionally lead to inflammation of a bursa.

Taking precautions before bursitis has the chance to occur, such as wearing knee pads when kneeling and warming up properly before exercise, may help reduce your risk of getting bursitis.

While your wisest course of action is to seek the help of your chiropractor, until your appointment, you should rest the affected area and apply ice to begin reducing inflammation. Very many people have been treated through chiropractic care with acupuncture treatment (with or without needles) such as the kind offered at Wagner Chiropractic and have experienced very positive results in a short treatment period of time. Call us today for a complimentary consult to see if we can help you with painful bursitis.

  1. a fluid-filled sac or saclike cavity, especially one countering friction at a joint. There are more than 150 bursae in the human body

  2. a viscous fluid that lubricates a joint

  3. Hip bursitis is more common in women and middle and older aged people.



Aprato, Alessandro. Bursitis of Major Joints. Nova Biomedical, 2015.

Aaron, D L, et al. “Four Common Types of Bursitis: Diagnosis and Management.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21628647.