Do Your Joints Ache? It Could Be Bursitis

by Dr. Chris Singh

This month I have decide to talk about a common condition called bursitis. In order to understand bursitis, we must first discuss a little bit of anatomy.

Around the joints of the body, there are small fluid-filled pads called bursas that function as cushions for the bones, tendons and muscles.

Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes swollen and inflamed. Bursitis is a painful and common condition that affects most people at some point during their lifetime. Although it is possible to have bursitis around any joint in the body, the most common locations are the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

The reason for this is that these are the joints that most frequently perform repetitive movements.

The most obvious symptom of bursitis is a swollen joint that is red and hot.

Often the joint will feel extremely stiff and painful.

The causes of bursitis usually involve some sort of repetitive movement or position that puts pressure on the bursas surrounding a joint.

Car haulers at risk

For example, I treat many car haulers for shoulder bursitis because they are constantly using their shoulder joints when chaining down the vehicles.

Another common example in truck drivers is left elbow bursitis that is caused by resting the arm on the window ledge for extended periods of time.

Bursitis is more common in middle- aged people who suffer from an underlying condition such as arthritis, gout and diabetes.

The good news is that the treatment of bursitis is usually very simple and effective.

The first thing to do if you suspect that you have bursitis is to rest and immobilize the affected area.

Next, apply ice to reduce the inflammation. In some cases, your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help relieve the pain and swelling.

Not life-threatening

If these conservative treatments are unsuccessful, your doctor may inject a corticosteroid drug directly into the bursa.

Usually, one injection is sufficient to cure bursitis.

Although bursitis is not a life-threatening condition, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience pain for more than two weeks, excessive swelling or bruising in the affected area and/or fever.

Obviously, it is impossible to prevent bursitis completely. However, you can greatly reduce your chances by being careful while you perform physical tasks.

First, lift using proper form. Failing to do this may put extra stress on the bursae around your joints.

Secondly, take frequent breaks if possible.

Lastly, avoid putting excess pressure on your knees and elbows.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Until next month, drive safely!

-Dr. Chris Singh runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached by e-mail at

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data