...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!
The treatment of any form of bursitis depends on whether or not it involves infection. Bursitis that is not from injury or underlying rheumatic disease can be treated with ice compresses, rest, and antiinflammatory and pain medications. Occasionally, it requires aspiration of the bursa fluid. This procedure involves removal of the fluid with a needle and syringe under sterile conditions. It can be performed in the doctor's office. Sometimes the fluid is sent to the laboratory for further analysis. Noninfectious bursitis can also be treated with a cortisone injection into the swollen bursa. This is sometimes done at the same time as the aspiration procedure and typically rapidly reduces the inflammation of the swollen bursa.
Infectious bursitis requires even further evaluation and aggressive treatment. The bursal fluid can be examined in the laboratory for the microbes causing the infection. Septic bursitis requires antibiotic therapy, sometimes intravenously. Repeated aspiration of the inflamed fluid may be required. Surgical drainage and removal of the infected bursa sac may also be necessary. Generally, the adjacent joint functions normally after the surgical wound heals.
Bursitis Treatment . . . PREVENTION:
To help prevent bursitis or reduce the severity of flare-ups:
Stretch your muscles Warm up or stretch before physical activity.
Strengthen your muscles Strengthening can help protect your joints. Wait until the pain and inflammation are gone before starting to exercise a joint that has bursitis.
Take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks Alternate repetitive tasks with rest or other activities.
Cushion your joint Use cushioned chairs, foam for kneeling or elbow pads. Avoid resting your elbows on hard surfaces. Avoid shoes that don't fit properly or that have worn-down heels.
Don't sit still for long periods Get up and move about frequently.
Practice good posture For example, avoid leaning on your elbows.
If your bursitis is caused by a chronic underlying condition, such as arthritis, it may recur despite these preventive measures.
Bursitis Treatment . . . What you can do:
To take care of your bursitis at home:
Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can provide relief. Use as directed. Consult your doctor if you need NSAIDs for an extended period of time.
Apply ice packs Use them for 20 minutes several times a day during the first few days, or for as long as the joint area is warm to the touch.
Apply heat Use heat after the affected joint is no longer warm or red to help relieve muscle and joint pain and stiffness. But don't overdo it. Don't apply heat for more than 20 minutes at a time. Sometimes moist heat seems to penetrate deeper and give you more relief than does dry heat.
Perform stretching exercises Stretching can help restore full range of motion.
Elevate the affected joint Raising your knee or elbow can help reduce swelling.
Keep pressure off your joint If possible, use an elastic bandage, sling or soft foam pad to protect a joint until the swelling goes down.