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Bursa, not just a town in Turkey

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Bursa, not just a town in Turkey

A man walks into the doctor’s office. He swings his arms over his head and proclaims, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” The doctor looks at him blankly and says, “Well, don’t do that!”

Four games in on any given volleyball night, my friend used to look at me with that pained squint and proclaim, “Dan, it hurts when I do this.” He emulated the volleyball serving motion. His arm rarely hurt in games one through three, but would consistently flair up in the later games of the evening. His problem was a chronic case of bursitis.

A bursa is basically the body’s version of a gasket. It is a liquid filled sac that keep bones from painfully gnashing. Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa that can cause some serious pain. My buddy had subacromial bursitis… aka shoulder pain after serving a volleyball for hours on end. Bursitis is also common in the hip, elbow and knee.

Bursitis is generally caused by repetitive motions or prolonged actions. Serving a volleyball or throwing a baseball might cause it. Being a bored student and leaning on your elbows, or a constant gardner and sitting on your knees can cause it as well.

You should see a doctor or a physical therapist if the pain is overwhelming or if the pain lasts a prolong period of time. A good start is to rest. Ice generally helps reduce inflammation as well. You may also be able to change your motion or action. And never forget, a bad pair of shoes can wreak havoc! Be careful about over diagnosing yourself… immobilization can lead to more serious problems.

Massage cannot solve bursitis directly. Trust me, jamming fingers into or compressing the actual bursa will make you jump off the table. However, a massage therapist can give some release to the muscles surrounding your bursae. A bit of myofascial release and neuromuscular therapy may just get you back up to speed!