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  • Ben Heathcote

Can acupuncture help bursitis?

Bursitis is a common condition that can cause pain and discomfort in joints throughout the body. To understand bursitis, it's important to know what bursae are. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, tendons, and muscles, reducing friction during movement.


When these bursae become inflamed, it leads to a condition called bursitis. Bursitis commonly occurs in areas such as the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and heel. The inflammation can be caused by repetitive motions, overuse of the joint, injury, or an underlying medical condition.


The most common symptom of bursitis is pain, which is often described as a dull ache or tenderness in the affected joint. The pain may worsen with movement or pressure on the area. Swelling and redness can also occur around the joint. In some cases, the range of motion of the joint may be limited.


Certain factors can increase the risk of developing bursitis, such as age, occupations or activities that involve repetitive motions, poor posture, muscle imbalances, and certain medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or gout.


Standard Western treatment for bursitis focuses on relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Resting the affected joint, applying ice packs, and taking over-the-counter pain medications can help alleviate symptoms. Physical therapy exercises may be recommended to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve flexibility. In some cases, the fluid in the inflamed bursa may need to be drained, or corticosteroid injections may be administered to reduce inflammation.


Prevention of bursitis involves avoiding repetitive motions or activities that place excessive stress on the joints. Maintaining good posture, using proper techniques during physical activities, and gradually increasing the intensity of exercise can also help reduce the risk of developing bursitis.


If symptoms persist or worsen despite self-care measures, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment plan.

In summary, bursitis is the inflammation of small fluid-filled sacs called bursae, which cushion joints. It causes pain, swelling, and limited movement in the affected joint. Treatment involves rest, pain management, physical therapy, and, in some cases, medical intervention. Prevention includes avoiding repetitive motions and maintaining proper posture during activities. Consulting a healthcare professional is recommended for persistent or worsening symptoms.


Is acupuncture good for bursitis?

Acupuncture is often considered beneficial for individuals with bursitis due to its potential to provide pain relief, reduce inflammation, and promote overall healing. Here are some reasons why acupuncture may be helpful for bursitis:

  1. Pain relief: Acupuncture has been widely recognised for its analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, acupuncturists aim to activate the body's natural pain-relieving mechanisms, such as the release of endorphins. This can help alleviate the pain associated with bursitis and improve overall comfort.

  2. Inflammation reduction: Bursitis involves inflammation of the bursae, leading to pain and discomfort. Acupuncture has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory effects by modulating the immune response and reducing inflammatory markers. By targeting specific acupuncture points, it may help reduce inflammation in the affected area and promote healing.

  3. Enhanced blood circulation: Acupuncture treatments can improve blood circulation in the affected area. This increased blood flow can aid in delivering oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells to the inflamed bursa, promoting healing and reducing inflammation.

  4. Relaxation of muscles and tendons: Acupuncture can help relax muscles and tendons around the affected joint. By reducing muscle tension and promoting flexibility, it may alleviate stress on the bursa, providing relief from pain and discomfort.

  5. Holistic approach: Acupuncture is a holistic therapy that considers the individual as a whole. It aims to restore balance and harmony within the body, addressing potential underlying imbalances that may contribute to the development or persistence of bursitis. By taking this comprehensive approach, acupuncture can support the body's natural healing processes and improve overall well-being.

It's important to note that while acupuncture has shown promise for bursitis in anecdotal reports and some clinical studies, further research is needed to establish its effectiveness and optimal treatment protocols. It is recommended to consult with a licensed acupuncturist who can assess your specific condition and develop a personalised treatment plan. Acupuncture may be used as part of a comprehensive approach to managing bursitis, in coordination with conventional medical care and other appropriate therapies.


If you would like to find out more about acupuncture and its benefits or book in for your first acupuncture treatment please Contact Us today. Our practitioners are happy to answer any questions you have regarding acupuncture or any other Chinese medicine related questions.



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