Ouch! Bursitis!

Dear Aunt Sally,

I’m sorry to hear that you have bursitis. Even sorrier to hear that your doctor didn’t explain it to you very well nor did he offer any treatments that resonated with you.

You have many bursae throughout your body. These are little fluid-filled sacs positioned judiciously between muscle and bone, or between muscle and skin, to reduce friction between moving parts. Think of them as similar in function to furniture bumper pads.
















These sacs are made up of the same tissue type as the membrane found in your joint capsule, so they similarly contain synovial fluid (like that found in your joint capsule). They have nerves, blood vessels, and lymph vessels, so pretty much anything that deranges your joints proper could also affect your bursae. Food allergies are a big culprit here, especially if you have chronic bursitis (i.e., it comes and stays and doesn’t go away with short treatment). With chronic bursitis, one must consider other causes, like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and thyroid dysfunction.

Of course, many bursae become inflamed from repetitive movement. If your bursitis has come from this, then you’d obviously want to change your movement patterns. I could make some recommendations when I see how you move.

As for getting rid of the bursitis, you have many options. Naturopathic bodywork can get fluid moving into joints and into the bursae. Moving the blood can help to reduce the inflammation that is causing the pain. Since you’re so close, you could come to my clinic and I could do my whole body adjustment, followed by some specific attention to the area with bursitis.

You could take an herbal approach, using butterfly weed (if it is an acute case and has redness), burdock (if it is better from movement), or joe-pye weed. Solomon’s seal and horsetail have been used to correct bunions (bursitis of the big toe), so I think they could also be used for bursitis elsewhere in the body. For you, I’d probably recommend a nice nettle-horsetail-rose hip infusion, with a Solomon’s Seal tincture.

Homeopathically, you could use Kalmia, Rhus tox., Sanguinaria, or Sticta.  We could discuss an appropriate remedy during your visit.

Topically, you can use cayenne and ginger in oil, perhaps with some St. John’s Wort and more Solomon’s Seal (both as oil), to help with the inflammation and pain.

Of course, you’ll also want to keep up with your regular supplements – calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C (and lots of this!), perhaps some coQ10, etc. The nettle-horsetail-rose hip infusion would go a long way to offering this nutritional support. You’ll want to continue with your fermented cod liver oil for the vitamin A.

All the best, and see you soon,