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Bursitis

The inflammation and swelling of the fluid-filled sacs around a joint is medically called bursitis. These fluid filled joints are scientifically termed “bursa”. These pockets of fluid filled sacs or "bursa," aid in the lubrication during locomotion and are very important for a healthy physical life, these sacs that provide lubrication to the joints sometimes become inflamed and due to this reason a severe pain during movement or physical activity may ensue. All joints within the human body are not equally affected and the joints of the shoulders, the elbows, the knees and Achilles' tendons are known to be the most vulnerable in cases of bursitis. Bursitis as such has other names and some of them include frozen shoulder symptom, the notorious tennis elbow and cases of bunions all make up good examples of bursitis and in addition may often involve tendinitis as well. Some of the physical manifestations of bursitis along with the obvious discomfort are a typical inflammatory sign, which may include the reddening of the skin and the swelling and tenderness in the affected area. With careful bed rest, mitigation of the symptoms and healing does not usually take longer than two weeks and some of the symptoms may even disappear within days.

The condition of bursitis is often caused and comes about by an injury sustained at the joints or the presence of repetitive stress to the joint, as in hard labor or exercise that concentrates only on a particular area of the body. Bursitis can also come along with other illnesses, for example, it can occur symptomatically with arthritis at the same time, it can also be caused due an infection sustained, it can come about due to the deposition of some minerals in the joints, a good example would be as a result of calcium deposits that can cause friction along the joints. Some nutrients are essential in the human diet and one of them is glucosamine, it is a nutrient that is found occurring naturally in the human body, with a heavy presence in cartilaginous tissues and the cartilage between joints as such. Chemically speaking it is essentially a combination of glucose and an amine, while glucose is a naturally occurring essential sugar in the body, an amine is a derivative of ammonia, containing nitrogen and hydrogen atoms in its molecular buildup. As the human body ages, there is a loss of muscle and bone mass, and at the same time with aging, a lot of the cartilage inside the body loses glucosamine and thins out, this is one of the major reasons that leads to joint pain and stiffness and the first signs of the possible development of bursitis, indeed the first signs of the development of bursitis are often a slow and steady occurrence of stiffness and swelling in the joints. There are conditions of weather involved in the equation and one of this is an overexposure to a colder climate, cold weather has a marked affect on joints and a decrease in the weather shows the joints to have a slight but noticeable predisposition to inflammation and soreness. The other physical causes of bursitis as one of its variants, also called the Achilles' tendon is purely artificial and it is common among young women as a result of poor shoe selection, high heels and tight fitting shoes can cause this kind of bursitis. Achilles' tendon manifests itself due to physical trauma sustained by the heels as in cases where the hard back of the shoe presses continually against the tendon just above the heel, the tendon is always opposed by a hard physical object and this has a huge strain on the tendon affecting it adversely and leading to the aforementioned form of bursitis also known as Achilles heels or tendon syndrome. Another effect of improper footwear is the physical illness known as bunions, which are also often associated with bursitis as a result of inappropriate strain on the feet. Though most of the initial symptoms of bursitis are harmless aside from a slight discomfort and usually dissipate after a good period of rest, there is a possibility of bursitis becoming chronic, and recurring frequently if the joints continue to undergo a repeated strain and overuse due to physical effort or through artificial agencies such as footwear. There are no immediate and quick cures for bursitis but some of the herbal remedies can and should be tried out, as they have proved effective in lessening the pain caused due to swelling and inflammation.

Supplements and herbs

The best supplements that can be included in the diet to lessen symptoms of bursitis are, vitamins like ascorbic acid or as it is more commonly known vitamin C and other flavones essential to diet like the bioflavonoids can help reduce the physical manifestations of bursitis like, the inflammation and pain that comes suddenly to the joints, these compounds while being organic and natural also aid greatly in recovery and speed up the healing process. Bioflavonoids act in a similar way and improve the rate of vitamin C absorption in the body, and are thus essential supplements in the fight against bursitis. Vitamins A and E respectively are also helpful in mitigating the worst effects of bursitis, minerals and ions are also essential to the body in its fight against the symptoms of bursitis and the common and useful mineral like silica, has a great impact on connective tissue repair and healing.
Other biological compounds and catalyst are also essential and useful in treating bursitis, for example bromelain is an enzyme, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps in reducing the swelling in the joints when taken between meals.
There are also other useful substances like glucosamine supplements which has already been discussed above, these supplements acting alone and in combination with a proper diet and vitamins, can greatly aid in the rebuilding and repair of damaged cartilage around joints. Glucosamine also has anti-pyretic or pain reducing capabilities and in this role of an anti-inflammatory agent and painkiller, glucosamine is extremely effective towards the long-term treatment of chronic illnesses like bursitis. Using this particular type of treatment, almost all patients do experience relief and a lessening in inflammation on glucosamine after a period of six weeks, and this is in no way the only timeframe within which glucosamine can act, it is also known to be effective even in as little time as 2 to 3 weeks with certain people.
The symptoms and aches due to bursitis can remain for a long time and it is important to remember that, if the problem persists even after repeated remedial measures, options like an intramuscular injections of  vitamin B12 and magnesium sulphate can be opted for instead and these have proved effective in long term treatment of the symptoms associated with bursitis. These injections can be carried out by a qualified physician and have been efficient and successful in providing relief from the pain and swelling inherent in chronic bursitis, these injections also aid in helping break up calcium deposits over a period of time. In some reported cases, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) has been shown to be capable of successfully treating bursitis and its associated symptoms in chronic cases. All of these vitamin B complex vitamins, along with at least 50 mg of vitamins B5 and B12 should be added to the normal diet or in the dosage where injections are opted for.
Sometimes the problem may fail to improve with a change in the dietary intake or even when supplements are added, while there may be a variety of reasons for this to occur, one of the first things you must consider, is that there is a possibility of food allergy, you could also have assimilation problems with digested food within the body and in addition to these, there may be other digestive enzyme deficiencies in the body, especially acids like HCL or hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Apply warm comfrey, oat straw or horsetail compresses to the affected area help relieve the pain and stiffness. Some treatments options for you to use, are herbal remedies such as the application of arnica and comfrey salves that can aid in mitigating symptoms and help speed the healing process. Another good option is to use a hot mullein poultice to relieve the pain by local application to affected areas. With other types of persistent for example with pus development along with the inflammation, a good option would be to apply a hot fenugreek seed packs. Other herbal options like alfalfa, stinging nettle and chaparral juices can supply the minerals needed for nourishing and strengthening the tissues and help in alleviating the symptoms of bursitis. Another good and simple option is a combination of horsetail and oat straw juice with a dash of capsicum added in the mix, by taking even 1 tbsp. of juice daily there is a definite fall and lessening in the symptoms associated with bursitis. Other research is discovering new things for example curcumin is the yellow pigment of turmeric, and is the active ingredient in the plant and in some recently conducted studies it has been reported to be as effective as cortisone in pain alleviation especially where bursitis is concerned and all these things without any of the associated side-effects that are often present when chemical compounds are involved. It is therefore a good idea to try out turmeric and the best way to do so is to take 500-1,000 mg three times daily on an empty stomach for a period not lesser than six weeks, in order to give it time to act.

Additional things you may do

There are other treatment options for persistent symptoms of bursitis such as pulsed electromagnetic therapy which is a highly recommended treatment to eliminate pain, it may also help and is reported to aid in an increase in blood circulation. An increase in the circulation of blood is very helpful because the more blood that flows into the affected area means a lot more of nutrients flows to that area. In and during the acute stages of chronic bursitis, the best and most effective remedy is to immediately rest and immobilize the affected part or the joint. Gently moving the affected part after the acute symptoms subside can aid greatly in minimizing pain and recurrence and eventually in the recovery of the affected part. Another quick and easy remedy is the application of hot potato or cabbage leaf packs to promote healing and pain minimization. An application of cider vinegar compresses relieves pain and stiffness in the joints the best way to do this is by placing a protective pad on the affected area to minimize the effects of friction and stress on the joints.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin A, 10,000 IU (should be avoided during pregnancy) or 25,000 IU beta-carotene
  • Vitamin B complex, 50 mg
  • Vitamin B5, 1,500-3,000 mg once a day for 6 weeks
  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 3,000 - 5,000 mg in divided doses
  • Bromelain, 250 mg 3 times a day between meals
  • Silica, 1,000 mg
  • Glucosamine, 500 mg 3 times a day for four months
  • Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400 IU

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