What are the Best Bursitis Remedies?

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  • Written By: C. K. Lanz
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2019
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The best bursitis remedies are typically simple and require rest and immobilization. Swelling, inflammation, and pain are most effectively treated with ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. If these measures aren’t effective, an injection of a corticosteroid drug can bring quick relief. Depending on the severity of the bursitis, physical therapy may be recommended to help strengthen the muscles in the affected area. When caused by an infection, the best bursitis remedies include antibiotics or surgical removal of the infected bursa.

This painful condition is caused by an inflamed bursa. A bursa is a pad of fluid that cushions the bones, tendons, and muscles near the body’s joints. Joints that perform repetitive motion are the most vulnerable to bursitis and include the shoulders, hips, and elbows. Bursitis may also be caused by an infection.

The most common bursitis remedies involve resting and immobilizing the affected joint because the condition is primarily caused by friction and movement. Applying ice for intervals of 20 minutes can help control swelling. Massage therapy may be recommended to relieve inflammation and stiffness.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen are bursitis remedies that target pain and inflammation. If these treatments do not bring relief, a doctor can inject a corticosteroid drug into the affected bursa. Injections typically bring fast relief of inflammation, and most patients require only one.


If an infection is the cause of bursitis, then treatment will potentially involve antibiotics. In severe cases, surgical drainage of the infected bursa may be necessary. Surgical removal of the bursa is an additional option but rarely necessary. Once removed, the bursa will grow back in approximately two weeks.

There are natural bursitis remedies in addition to those offered by conventional medicine. Applying lobelia oil to the affected joint prevents stiffness. A simple castor oil pack can calm pain. Castor oil is applied to the affected joint that is then wrapped in cotton or wool flannel. A heating pad placed on top of the flannel completes the pack.

Additional bursitis remedies include physical therapy and exercise to strengthen the muscles of the affected joint. Maintaining a range of motion will help prevent more stiffness. The cat stretch is one of the most effective for stiff shoulders.

A joint affected by bursitis will feel achy and stiff, and the pain will increase if the joint is moved or pressed. The joint will be swollen and red from the inflammation and may be accompanied by a bruise or a rash. If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, a medical professional should be consulted. Most cases of bursitis resolve in a few weeks with treatment, but future occurrences are possible.



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