Bursitis: Pain Management And Treatments

30 Oct Bursitis: Pain Management And Treatments

Bursitis can be a very painful condition that requires pain management while waiting for the condition to resolve.

Many joints in the body contain bursae, small sacs of fluid meant to protect the joints and add some cushioning. The bursae can end up inflamed after repetitive motion on a regular basis (such as kneeling extensively or sitting for long periods of time) or due to an infection. The result is a very tender joint that hurts even when not in use.

Those with gout or kidney issues tend to be at higher risk for the complaint. They may also find themselves with fewer options for pain management, due to complications with their pre-existing diseases.

Common Symptoms

The first symptom of bursitis is an aching joint. The affected joint may hurt more when touched or moved and in some cases it will be red and swollen. While the issue may resolve itself in some cases, ongoing or very sharp pain requires the attention of a doctor.

In the case of an infection, a fever may be present along with the swollen, painful area. There may also be a rash or bruising. Any of these symptoms could mean an infection has taken hold. This will need to be treated immediately.

The patient should also see a doctor or physical therapist if unable to lift or rotate an arm or a leg. This symptom may worsen over time, so if someone is unable to lift an arm over their head, they will need to begin special exercises to alleviate the problem.

Treatments and Pain Management

The primary treatment for this condition is simply rest. The affected joint should be left to heal for a few days or the symptoms will likely worsen. Cold packs applied to the joint can also help reduce the inflammation and ease pain. These should be applied several times a day for 10-15 minutes at a time.

A cane, splint or brace can also be helpful in immobilizing a body part to force it to rest. Slings are sometimes used for elbow or shoulder bursitis to prevent the joint from moving too much.

In cases where the patient does not see an improvement within a few days, NSAIDs are often suggested. These may be taken in pill form as aspirin or ibuprofen to decrease inflammation or applied as a topical cream. For those who find medicine upsets their stomachs, topical is a better option.

Infections usually require the appropriate antibiotic, as well as fluid draining. This is done by inserting a needle into the bursae sac and drawing out the liquid accumulated there. Draining may be required on a daily basis until the infection is resolved.

Another option for treatment in persistent bursitis is a coricosteroid injection. This treatment can reduce swelling and keep pain to a minimum. It is often considered when a patient is unable to take NSAIDs.

While joint pain is never an enjoyable experience, there are ways to manage bursitis. Early intervention is key in preventing further problems later on. Treat it early and often to avoid more pain.

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