Throughout the body there are points where separate structures must move freely in relation to each other; however, they must also have tight opposition. A typical example is where a tendon (the fibrous rope-like structure that attaches muscle to the bone) must move around a sharp, bony protrusion in a pulley-like fashion. In order for these movements to take place easily the body as bursae, which are lubricating membranes. Bursae are actually two membranes close together with a slippery fluid between them.
The term ‘bursitis’ is a combination of ‘bursa’ and ‘itis’ a word termination meaning inflammation of the lubricating membrane, usually at or about the joint.
There are four classic signs of inflammation: pain, heat, redness, and swelling. The basic reason inflammation processes develop is injury to the tissue. Such injury is usually a result of physical stress or it is pathological in nature, such as infection.
Obviously, when the bursa is inflamed it cannot perform its primary lubricating function properly. This is particularly important because most of the locations for bursae are at points of high stress or wear.
The key factor when bursitis occurs is not removal of the symptoms of pain and limited function of the area; rather, it is finding the exact cause of the bursitis and eliminating it. Unfortunately, symptomatic treatment for bursitis in the form of pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs is very common.
Bursitis very often parallels the different forms of arthritis and, indeed, is caused by some of the same factors that cause arthritis. Protein and calcium metabolism are very important in the development of certain types of arthritis, as they are in the development of bursitis.
A common cause of bursitis is excessive structural strain. The bursa becomes inflamed as a result of excessive wear in an area that already has hard wear. This excessive stress often occurs because of imbalanced muscular pull. For example, a joint (such as the shoulder) has many muscles that must work in unison for normal movement. Some muscles must relax as other contract, and they must do so at precisely the right time and in the right way. If this muscular balance is not present it must be regained or, regardless of the treatment to the bursa itself, the condition will remain and probably flare up again after the medication has worn off.
Bursitis may develop because the membranes comprising the bursa have an inadequate nutritional level; thus tissue is not as strong as it should be. It is very important for the bursal membranes to be healthy because, by the very nature of the membranes, they are subjected to significant stress. A lowered health level results in breakdown during periods of wear.
Sometimes an individual will work extra hard in the garden, at sports, or at some other physical activity, and develop bursitis. The physical activity gets blamed for the bursitis; actually, the membranes – in a lowered state of health – were just waiting for extra stress to begin manifesting symptoms. If, upon examination, an inadequate protein level or some other factor causing lowered tissue health is found, it may be necessary to either change an individual’s diet, add nutritional supplements, or improve the digestive system so the body can correctly use the food ingested.
It is important to remove the cause of bursitis, because long term bursitis can ultimately result in permanent damage. The damage is caused in exactly the same way that a bearing in your automobile wears out when it does not obtain adequate lubrication.
Dr. Sahara will use many methods of evaluation to determine the exact reason for the bursitis. Laboratory tests and x-ray may be important, as are the specialized AK tests for muscular balance and function.
A tendon is a fibrous cord that attaches muscle to bone. Tendons often must go around sharp corners, through narrow spaces, and be in contact with other points of high wear. Generally there is a bursa that lubricates the sliding tendon, decreasing the wear. It may be at one of these joints that bursitis develops, or a condition known as Tendinitis may occur.
‘Tendonitis’* means inflammation of a tendon. The same basic principles indicated previously in reference to bursitis are present in tendonitis. The only major differences are the tissue involved, the sliding activity of the tendon, and the locations within the body. The same through evaluation for the cause of Tendinitis is very important in eliminating the condition rather than just overriding its symptoms.
*Any ‘ITIS’ in the body usually correlates to either an underlining adrenal illness problem, open / closed ileocecal valve problem, or a digestive disturbance.
Written by: SYSTEMS DC, INC. (edited: Darrick E. Sahara, D.C., Inc.)