Bursitis alone is generally not sufficiently disabling to allow someone to receive Social Security disability benefits. However, many of our disability clients do suffer from bursitis, along with other ailments and conditions. The Web site Bursitis.org has good information about the causes of and treatments for bursitis. Here is a part of the site’s information. Visit the site for more.
Bursitis information and treatment options
How Bursitis Occurs
The bursa is what cushions the tendon and thereby helps prevent friction between the tendon and the bone. Unfortunately, constant rubbing of the tendon over the bone with high amounts of repetitive arm, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle motion can lead to enough friction of the bursa itself to cause the inflammation and irritation of the bursa called bursitis. For example, a person who throws a ball too many times at one interval may begin to cause this friction process in the shoulder or elbow. Another way that bursitis occurs is when compression of the bursa happens on a regular basis, such as a side sleeper who places a lot of shoulder or hip pressure when they lay down for long periods. In this case it would not take too much movement of this already compressed area to cause friction of the bursa.
Symptoms can vary from an achy pain and stiffness to the local area of the joint, to a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the inflamed bursa. With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and after activity, and the bursa and surrounding joint area can become stiffer the following day.
With proper care for the area, the pain in the bursa should lessen over three weeks, but it should be noted that the healing of the area continues and doesn’t even peak until at least six weeks following the initial injury. This is due to scar tissue formation, which initially acts like the glue to bond the tissue back together. Scar tissue will continue to form past six weeks in some cases and as long as a year in severe cases. After 6 months this condition is considered chronic and much more difficult to treat. The initial approach to treating a bursitis is to support and protect the bursa by bracing any areas of the tendon that are being pulled on during use, as this will help stop bursa friction from occurring. It is important to loosen up the tendons, lessen the pain, minimize any bursa inflammation, and reduce the compression that can occur with lying down or sitting.
After the scar tissue has begun to accumulate, it will be important to perform procedures which help break down the scar tissue in the tendon tissue, so as to let the tendon and muscle regain it’s normal flexibility and lessen the chance of further injury. While exercise is appropriate for breaking down scar tissue once the area has healed, it may further irritate the area during the initial stages. Therefore, other methods that can be performed by your healthcare provider, such as ultrasound and massage, may be safely used to accomplish this early on in the injury. Ultrasound uses sound waves that vibrate a such a fast level, that it cannot be felt with normal use. Ultrasound will cause an increase in circulation to the tissue and soften the scar tissue to allow it to further break down. Ultrasound can also be used as phonophoresis to help topical pain and nutrient solutions reach further down into the tissues by transporting them with the sound waves. Light stretches may also be performed if they do not cause any further irritation to the area.
Prevention of this condition requires stretching the muscle on a regular basis and thereby lengthening the tendon connections around the bursa. This will allow less friction to the tendon/bursa/bone connection. As mentioned previously, reducing the compression with sitting or lying down is crucial for helping to keep the bursa from losing its natural lubrication and allowing the bursa friction to occur more readily. When bursitis does occur, it is important to treat it immediately, and thereby prevent it from reaching a stage that is more severe.