Bursitis What It Is and Natural Complementary Treatments

Knee Bursitis

What Is Bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid-filled membrane near a joint. There are many membranes in different parts of your body. For example, they are located on protruding bone parts or between bone parts. The most common places where bursas (bursae) are located are your shoulder, elbow and knee, and hip.

Inflamed Bursa

The medical word for these fluid-filled sacs is ‘bursa'. When a bursa becomes inflamed, it is called bursitis. Especially people over the age of 30 are more likely to get bursitis.

What Causes Bursitis?

The cause of bursitis is usually overuse. Bursitis can also be a symptom of other rheumatic disorders. Sometimes the infection is a cause.

What Are The Symptoms of Bursitis?

Bursitis or mainly occurs around the joints of your shoulder, elbow, knee, and sometimes hip. The main complaints are pain and stiffness. Sometimes the spot is swollen and/or feels warm to the touch. The moving parts of the body that are inflamed are often painful.

Also Tendinitis

Bursitis and tendinitis occur regularly at the same time. The bursa and the tendon are then both inflamed.

How Is Bursitis Diagnosed?

Your doctor usually bases the diagnosis on the outcome of the complaints you report and a physical examination.


Sometimes your doctor will extract some inflammatory fluid from the swelling for further examination. This happens, for example, when your doctor wants to know if a bacterial infection is a cause.

Ruling Out Other Causes

Blood tests and additional examinations, such as taking X-rays, are sometimes done as well. This happens when your doctor wants to rule out other rheumatic diseases as the cause.

How Does Bursitis Progress?

Bursitis usually lasts only for a short time. With the right measures and treatment, you will fully recover from bursitis. Sometimes your symptoms become chronic. It is important that you try to prevent overburdening of the joint in question, even after symptoms have dissipated.

Which Treatments Can Help You?


Bursitis is painful. For the pain, you usually get an anti-inflammatory painkiller (NSAID) possibly together with paracetamol. Your doctor may also give you an injection into the bursa with an anti-inflammatory drug to inhibit the inflammation. This works fast and well.


For the treatment of bursitis, you will usually see your family doctor or sometimes a rheumatologist. This depends on the severity of your symptoms.


In fact, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) is a group of complaints that have one thing in common: they are caused by repeatedly making the same kind of movement. This group of complaints includes tendon (sheath) inflammation, bursitis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. If the bursitis is caused by overexertion and performing the same kind of movement too often, then it is an RSI. If the inflammation is caused by an infection or as part of an inflammation of the joint then it is not an RSI.

Frozen Shoulder

A ‘frozen shoulder' is a complaint in which it is very difficult or too painful to move the shoulder. In that respect, it looks very much like bursitis of the shoulders. Symptoms of a frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness and can be caused by accidents, surgery, open-heart surgery, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes but often one does not know. With a frozen shoulder, the cap in the shoulder joint that connects the upper arm and shoulder blade becomes inflamed. So not the bursa.


With arthritis, the affected joint is also red, swollen, stiff, and painful and the freedom of movement is limited. In that respect it resembles bursitis. In arthritis, however, a large part of the joint is affected, while in bursitis only a bursa is inflamed. Arthritis is a disease that can affect more than just the joints.

Treating Bursitis with Natural Remedies

Your doctor will always be able to give you the best treatment. In the meantime, you can use these simple natural treatments to reduce inflammation and pain at home. Try them out!

If you've ever suffered from bursitis, you probably recognize the impossible to ignore swelling, stiffness and redness.

Do you suffer from painful bursitis in the joints? You can relieve bursitis in different ways. Let the joint rest, restrict the movement of the joint, and these natural and homemade remedies.

To relieve bursitis, it is especially important that you let the joint rest. Move as little as possible and do not force the joint. In addition, use these natural resources. Continuous friction of the joints is almost always the cause of this type of internal irritation. It is quite painful. In many cases, it can even make someone disabled.

One remark: bursitis is not the same as tendinitis. Tendinitis refers to the inflammation of the tendons. Tendons are the fibrous structure that connects the muscles to the bone. Bursitis, on the other hand, refers to each of the one hundred and fifty bursae that function as ‘cushions' between the tendons, ligaments, and bones that surround the joints.

Natural Complementary Treatments For Bursitis

There are many types of alternative treatments. Sometimes people with a rheumatic disorder notice a positive effect. Always consult your doctor before starting any alternative treatment because it may cause side effects or may interact with the medication you are taking.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Bursitis

Apple cider vinegar is a classic solution to treat bursitis naturally. This is how you use apple cider vinegar.

What do you need?

  • A towel
  • 1/2 cup pure apple vinegar (125 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (7,5 g)


  • It's very simple. First, mix the cider vinegar with the honey in a cup. In this way, you make a powerful anti-inflammatory that you can use throughout the day.
  • Then moisten the towel well with the mixture.
  • Finally lay the towel on the area affected by bursitis for fifteen minutes.

2. Cold Therapy In The First 48 Hours

Cold temperatures are absolutely the best way to reduce incipient swelling. At the same time, the cold will calm the pain in the affected area.

What do you need?

  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1 plastic bag

What do you do?

  • Put the ice cubes in the plastic bag.
  • Place the bag on the affected joint for 15 minutes.
  • After that, lift the painful joint above the height of your heart and let it rest.
  • You can do this several times a day until the pain has subsided.

3. Massage with Essential Oils

Some essential oils are remarkably effective in treating bursitis. Here are the most effective:

Nutmeg oil: this essential oil is very effective in the treatment of joint pain because it has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.

Mint: this essential oil should not be forgotten in your care bag of natural remedies. The most important part of mint is menthol, which has been used for centuries to treat pain and inflammation.

Another special essential oil to treat conditions such as bursitis is coconut oil. It helps to reduce both redness and burning sensations. All you have to do is massage the joint with a few drops of oil. Massage in a circular motion to relieve pain.

4. Try Ginger To Inhibit Bursitis

Ginger contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties that are very similar to those of aspirin or ibuprofen. In addition, ginger improves circulation and helps effectively treat bursitis.

What do you need?

  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger (7 g)
  • Gauze
  • 1/2 cup hot water (125 ml)

How do you prepare it?

  • First, roll the freshly ground ginger in a piece of gauze.
  • Place the gauze with the ginger in a cup of hot water for 2 minutes.
  • Let it cool a little and then lay it on the affected area for 15 minutes.
  • You can repeat this two or three times a day. Easy right?

You can read more about The Beneficial and Medicinal Properties of Ginger here.

5. Rest and follow a diet rich in magnesium

It may seem obvious, but one of the fundamental ways to cure bursitis is to rest and take care of your posture.

The doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. However, it is important that you avoid moving the joint as much as possible in case of swelling. Bursitis can be caused by strain, the friction of joints and muscles, or by ligaments causing inflammation of a certain bursa.

Moving the joint will make the pain worse. Rest as much as you can. Also, be sure to follow a diet rich in magnesium. Eat bananas, spinach, oats, lentils, etc. Magnesium is an essential mineral for the joints, muscles, and ligaments. Perhaps you should also ask your doctor whether or not you should take supplements.

6. Green-lipped mussel

The Maori people, on the coast of New Zealand, who of all population groups are the freest of joint problems, have been consuming a special type of mussel for many centuries. The so-called ‘green-lipped mussel'. It is a mussel species that has a special composition, with various variants of Omega3 fatty acids. You can also take these in capsules if you cannot get a fresh green-lipped mussel. Fresh at the fishmongers is almost never available, but if there is a package in the freezer? Sometimes you can get lucky.

7. Curcumin C3 (Turmeric)

Curcumin C3 Complex is an extract derived from the roots of the Curcuma longa plant, also known as turmeric. Curcumin C3 Complex is one of the most clinically-studied natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant spices. A published study (1) indeed leads to a clear decrease in joint complaints, without side effects. Curcumin C3 ‘Superior' also supports the bacteria in the intestine, to help inhibit inflammation.

Bacteria infections can disrupt normal cell metabolism. They react by triggering a waterfall of chemical reactions. Curcumin C3 activates the NF-kB, which is at the basis of this chemical reaction, so the defense mechanism of the cell comes into action. But if it does, it is also Curcumin C3 that keeps it in check. Great support in case of (joint) inflammation.

Further Reading and Research:



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