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One would like to believe that exercise is a great thing, that is until you develop the symptoms of bursitis, Bursitis is a condition that occurs if joints are overused causing the bursae of the joints to become inflamed and swell.

Bursae are the small, fluid-filled sacs that lubricate and cushion pressure points between your bones and the tendons and muscles near your joints. When inflammation occurs, the simplest movements can become painful. Even applying the the slightest bit of pressure on or near the afflicted conflict can be very painful.

Bursitis often affects the areas around the joints in your shoulders, elbows or hips. It can also occur in the knee, heel and in the any of the toe joints, but it is especially known for afflicting the big toe, making it difficult to walk. Technically the common bunion is a form of a bursitis that is caused by friction from a tight fitting shoe.

When bursitis affects the elbow it is known as “tennis elbow.” In the shoulder it is commonly called “frozen shoulder.”

Symptoms of bursitis are a dull ache or worsening of pain with the movement of any joint. The affected joint may also appear swollen or warm to the touch. In some individuals the skin around the inflamed joint turns pink.

If the bursitis occurs in the hip there is usually no swelling as there is a lot of tissue concealing the joint.

Common Causes of Bursitis

Common causes of bursitis are overuse, stress or direct trauma to a joint, such as with repeated bumping or prolonged pressure from kneeling. Many people develop it from sitting at the computer too long, bicycling or taking long daily walks.

Bursitis may also result from an infection, arthritis or gout. Tight muscles, from overexertion or physical or emotional trauma can also result in bursitis. Reactions to certain foods, airborne allergies or calcium deposits. Extremely rare causes of bursitis can be caused by staphylococcal infection and tuberculosis. Sometimes the cause is simply unknown.

Naturopathic Care and Treatment

Bursitis pain usually goes away within a week or so with proper treatment, but recurrent flare-ups of bursitis are common and can be frustrating.

Treatment for bursitis is resting and immobilizing the affected area, applying ice to reduce swelling and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. With simple self-care and home treatment, bursitis usually disappears within a week or two.

Sometimes, a physical may recommend physical therapy or exercises to strengthen the muscles in the area in order to relieve inflammation. This  generally brings relief.

Hot castor oil packs may help relieve pain. You can make these by dipping a piece of cheesecloth in warmed castor oil, covering it with plastic and covering it with a heating pad. Keep this covered for about two others.

Attempt to stop the activity that was causing the bursitis in the first place. Wait until the swelling goes down and then reintroduce the activity slowly back into your routine again.

Can You Beat Bursitis?

Bursitis may recur if you keep doing the activity that triggered the swelling of the bursae in the first place. If your bursitis is chronic you might want to check to see if the swelling is caused by a hidden infection, like Lyme Disease. There are also many tests that can determine whether or not your bursitis is triggered by an anti-inflammatory diseases

For more information about how to cope with the pain and swelling of bursitis, deal with immuneodeficiencies that may cause joint inflammation or to book a consultation, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at You can also call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. Send an email to and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services which includes naturopathic testing, acupuncture and weight loss programs.


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