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  • Writer's pictureMin Jeon

Bursting Bursitis Blues: Getting Back to Moving and Grooving

In the intricate framework of our bodies, even the tiniest components play crucial roles in maintaining harmony. Among these, bursae – the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion our joints and soft tissues – often go unnoticed until they become inflamed, giving rise to the discomforting condition known as bursitis. Whether you're an athlete, a painter, an office worker, or simply someone who enjoys an active lifestyle, bursitis can unexpectedly interrupt your routine with pain and limited mobility. But with proven efficacy in the treatment of bursitis, acupuncture has become a popular treatment option for this condition. In this blog, we'll explore the depths of bursitis - understanding the condition and its causes, recognizing its symptoms, and discovering how acupuncture holds promise as a comprehensive treatment for alleviating bursitis symptoms. From the mechanics of bursitis to the potential benefits of acupuncture, we'll guide you through the terrain of this common ailment.

Understanding Bursitis

Bursitis is a painful condition that often goes under the radar, yet it affects numerous people around the world. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that lubricate the joints and also act as a cushion between bones, tendons, muscles, and other structures in your body. The purpose of the bursae is to reduce friction and allow smooth movement between these components. Inflammation in the bursae can lead to discomfort and limited mobility. The condition can occur in any joint where bursae are present. It is most commonly observed in the shoulder, hip, elbow, and knee joints. Millions of people worldwide suffer from bursitis, with increasing numbers as we lead more sedentary lifestyles and engage in repetitive activities.

Potential Causes of Bursitis

Bursitis can be triggered by a diverse range of factors, making it a common ailment across all age groups. Some of the leading causes include:

Repetitive Movements:

Engaging in activities that involve repetitive motions, such as typing, gardening, or sports, can strain the bursae and lead to inflammation.

Trauma or Injury:

Direct impact to a joint or excessive pressure on bursae due to accidents can result in bursitis.

Poor Posture:

Bad posture places undue stress on joints, potentially leading to bursitis over time.


Bacterial infection within the bursae can cause inflammation and subsequent pain.

Medical Conditions:

Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and diabetes can increase the risk of bursitis.


As we age, the bursae can become less elastic, making them more prone to inflammation.

Muscle Imbalances:

Weak or imbalanced muscles can lead to abnormal joint movements and bursitis.

Areas of the Body that May Be Affected by Bursitis

Bursitis can occur in various joints throughout the body. Some common locations include:


Subacromial bursitis is common, often due to repetitive overhead movements.


Olecranon bursitis (also known as "student's elbow" or "popeye elbow") is prevalent.


Trochanteric bursitis affects the outer hip and can result from repetitive activities or prolonged sitting.


Pes anserine bursitis affects the inner knee, often linked to activities like running.


Retrocalcaneal bursitis affects the back of the ankle near the Achilles tendon.


Inflammation of the bursa beneath the heel bone can lead to retrocalcaneal bursitis.

Base of Big Toe:

Hallux rigidus or hallux limitus (a type of arthritis that specifically affects the joint where the big toe meets the foot) can lead to bursitis at the base of the big toe.


Ischial bursitis, also known as "weaver's bottom," can result from prolonged sitting on hard surfaces.

Remember that bursitis can also develop in other joints where bursae are present, and the exact location might vary based on individual factors and activities. If you suspect you have bursitis in any joint, it's essential to seek professional medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Potential Symptoms of Bursitis

Bursitis can manifest in various ways, with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to more severe pain. Some possible symptoms associated with bursitis may include:

Localized Pain:

Pain is the most common symptom of bursitis. It often occurs at the site of the affected joint and can range from mild to severe.

Aching Sensation:

The pain might be described as a persistent ache that worsens with movement or pressure.

Sharp or Stabbing Pain:

Some individuals experience sharp or stabbing pain, especially during certain movements or activities.


The affected area may be tender to the touch, indicating inflammation and irritation.


Swelling around the joint is a hallmark of bursitis and is often visible as a lump or increased thickness in the affected area.


Inflammation can lead to reddening of the skin over the bursa, particularly in acute cases.


The affected area might feel warmer than the surrounding skin due to increased blood flow and inflammation.


Bursitis can lead to joint stiffness, making it difficult to move the affected joint through its full range of motion.

Limited Range of Motion:

Due to pain and stiffness, the affected joint's ability to move freely can be compromised.

Pain with Movement:

Activities such as walking, lifting, or bending the affected joint can exacerbate the pain.

Pain at Rest:

In some cases, the pain might persist even when the joint is at rest or during nighttime, affecting sleep.

Painful Activities:

Specific movements or actions that put strain on the bursae, such as reaching overhead or kneeling, can trigger pain.


Muscle weakness around the affected joint can occur due to pain and reduced use.

Grating Sensation:

In some cases, a grating or crunching sensation known as crepitus might be felt during joint movement.

Pain Referral:

Pain might radiate from the affected joint to nearby areas, making it challenging to pinpoint the exact source.

Painful Palpation:

Pressing on the affected area might worsen the pain, indicating bursitis-related tenderness.

Joint Instability:

In advanced cases, bursitis can lead to joint instability and a feeling of the joint giving way.

Difficulty Sleeping:

Pain and discomfort can disrupt sleep, leading to insomnia or poor sleep quality.


Chronic pain from bursitis can lead to physical and emotional fatigue over time.

Emotional Impact:

Living with chronic pain can lead to mood changes, anxiety, and depression.

Potential Benefits of Acupuncture for Bursitis

Acupuncture offers a multifaceted approach to potentially alleviate the symptoms of bursitis.

Some ways acupuncture may provide relief for bursitis include:

Pain Relief:

Acupuncture may trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, potentially providing immediate relief from bursitis-related pain.

Inflammation Reduction:

Acupuncture may help regulate the body's immune response, potentially leading to a reduction in inflammation around the affected joint.

Improved Blood Circulation:

By stimulating blood flow, acupuncture may potentially enhance the delivery of nutrients, oxygen, and healing factors to the inflamed area.

Muscle Relaxation:

Acupuncture may promote relaxation of muscles, potentially reducing tension around the affected joint and minimizing strain on the bursae.

Enhanced Joint Mobility:

Relaxation of surrounding muscles and improved blood circulation may lead to increased joint flexibility and mobility.

Nerve Regulation:

Acupuncture may modulate nerve activity, potentially leading to reduced pain signaling and improved nerve function around the inflamed area.

Stress Reduction:

Acupuncture's calming effect may help lower stress levels, which may potentially contribute to pain management and overall well-being.

Release of Tension:

Acupuncture may help release tension and blockages within the body's energy pathways.

Promotion of Healing:

Acupuncture may accelerate the body's natural healing processes, potentially aiding in the repair of damaged tissues and bursae.

Normalization of Function:

Acupuncture may potentially restore normal function to the affected joint by addressing imbalances.

Enhanced Lymphatic Drainage:

Acupuncture may stimulate the lymphatic system, potentially helping to remove waste products and reduce swelling.

Reduction of Scar Tissue:

Acupuncture may help prevent excessive scar tissue formation, potentially improving joint movement and flexibility.

Regulation of Immune Response:

Acupuncture's effect on the immune system may potentially help prevent the immune system from exacerbating inflammation in the bursae.

Improved Sleep Quality:

Acupuncture's relaxation benefits may lead to better sleep, potentially aiding in the body's healing and recovery process.

Minimized Reliance on Medications:

Acupuncture offers a drug-free alternative, potentially reducing the need for pain-relieving medications that can have side effects.

Complementary Treatment:

Acupuncture can be used alongside many other therapies for a more comprehensive approach.

Overall Well-being:

Acupuncture's comprehensive approach not only addresses physical symptoms but also the underlying causes. It also contributes to emotional and mental well-being.

While acupuncture's effectiveness can vary from person to person, several studies have shown promising results regarding its ability to alleviate bursitis symptoms. Some studies suggest that acupuncture may lead to reduced pain and improved joint mobility, making it a potential treatment for bursitis.

Bursitis is a common ailment that often causes pain and discomfort and can disrupt daily life. Acupuncture has become a popular treatment option for bursitis with its potential to relieve pain and inflammation and promote healing. From pain reduction and improved circulation to stress relief and enhanced mobility, acupuncture's potential benefits are wide-ranging. So, if you're seeking relief from the discomfort of bursitis and looking for a comprehensive approach, consider giving acupuncture a try.

If you are interested in acupuncture for the treatment of bursitis, please contact us at Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic. Dr. Min K. Jeon’s extensive knowledge and experience in treating bursitis has led to significant improvements and relief in many of her patients. With a comprehensive approach that combines acupuncture and complementary therapies, Dr. Min creates tailored treatment plans that address each patient’s unique needs. So, take your next step towards potential relief by scheduling a free consultation with Dr. Min. During this consultation, she'll take the time to discuss your concerns, evaluate your condition, and share a personalized treatment plan designed specifically for you. At Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic, we're passionate about helping you regain your health and well-being. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. It’s time you find relief and get back to doing the activities you enjoy.

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