From time to time, we all end up with a nagging pain that just won’t go away. As long as we are careful, we can usually get around it by compensating in some fashion, avoiding excessive strain. If, however, the pain doesn’t let up, even the compensatory action can become a musculoskeletal problem. This can be seen in knee problems due to foot pain, or shoulder problems due to neck pain. Many times we slough off such chronic pain as simply part of “getting old”. This isn’t necessarily true. We can, and deserve, to feel well at any age!
As the title indicates, today’s article discusses inflammatory pain of the bursa, tendons and muscles throughout our bodies. By tacking the suffix “-itis” (meaning inflammation) onto the end of these words, we end up with descriptive terms meaning pain in these structures: bursitis, tendonitis, and myositis. Bursa are little fluid-filled sacks that help separate one muscle from another, or from a bone or tendon, reducing the friction of rubbing together. A tendon is the fibrous tissue at the end of a muscle attaching onto a bone. Sometimes the muscle, tendon or bursa can become inflamed, and the subsequent pain quickly tells us of that inflammation.
There are four classic signs of inflammation: rubor (redness), dolor (pain), calor (heat) and tumor (swelling). Inflammation is usually a result of injury to the tissue. This injury can be from a sudden onset (spraining an ankle), or a chronic onset (such as from infection, or repetitive motion). Pain reduction, in this case, is predicated on finding the cause of the tissue injury, and taking measures to eliminate that cause.
Imbalanced muscular tension in and around a joint can trigger a wear-and-tear inflammatory pattern upon the bursa, tendons and muscles. Muscles must work in a coordinated fashion to walk, sit and perform our normal daily activities. If they don’t, they pull inappropriately on other muscles, tendons, bursa and joints creating eventual tissue injury. Bursa also require adequate nutritional input to maintain proper tissue resistance to all the wear and tear they’re exposed to. In a lowered state of health, any increased activity in the yard, garden or at work can begin manifesting symptoms. Protein intake, vitamin B-12, and a healthy digestive system can help. Tendons must often go around sharp corners and narrow spaces. Usually bursa help cushion tendonous movement, but when bursitis acts up, tendonitis often flares up as well. If this irritation is because of muscle strength imbalance, myositis (inflammation of the muscle) develops on top of everything else.
(Dr. Richard Hanson, chiropractor in Jamestown,New York, can be reached at (716)664-0445. Most major insurances are now being accepted.)