A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and other moving parts: muscles, tendons, or skin. Bursitis simply means that a bursa is inflamed and there is pain, redness, swelling and limitation of movement. Bursitis and tendonitis are common inflammatory conditions affecting soft tissue that surrounds joints; most commonly ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders. Generally it will affect people whose work and activities involve stress and repetitive movements with overuse of a specific joint. All sorts of occupational names are then applied, such as housemaid’s knee or tennis elbow. In the acute phase ice packs and rest are combined with painkillers. Chronic bursitis is better treated with physiotherapy and ultrasound. Bowen therapy can provide rapid relief of symptoms and a fast return to normal function.
Foods & herbs for the home
- Turmeric is a cheap and easily available herb that has a respected use as an anti-inflammatory spice. If you live near an Asian supermarket you can buy it fresh. Peel the root and dip it into a little mineral sea salt and eat it several times a day. Otherwise add Organic Turmeric Powder to a salt shaker and add it freely to other foods before serving. Remember that turmeric will temporarily stain skin and clothes.
- Garlic has anti-inflammatory effects. It is especially effective at mopping up free radicals. With trauma an excess of these molecules may contribute to inflammation. You can download Jill Davies' book on "Garlic" for free.
- Avoid dehydration and drink plenty of water in order to ensure 'well-gliding' joint surfaces.
- Essential fatty acids have an excellent reputation as anti-inflammatory agents. For those who are not vegetarian/vegan, a good quality fish oil supplement to provide the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may be particularly beneficial; ask your health food store to recommend one. For vegetarians and vegans, look for a vegan omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acid supplement that contains GLA from evening primrose or starflower oil. Use a cold-pressed flax seed oil on foods for the extra omega 3 – this is particularly important for those who cannot take fish oil.
- Massage may bring relief to painful joints. St John’s Wort Oil is anti-inflammatory and can be gently worked into affected joints several times a day.
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