The body is an exceptionally intricate system. It is composed of many different parts, each working together to allow us to make the complex movements we take for granted in our daily lives, such as running, jumping, and lifting. Unfortunately, when one of these parts fails, it can cause severe discomfort, limiting our ability to function normally.
When it comes to movement, the bursa is an important component in the body’s protection system. The bursa is a small sac filled with fluid that acts as a lubricated cushion between tendons, bones, and muscles, in order to reduce friction and enable a full range of motion. Inflammation of the bursa—or bursitis—is a common affliction that can result in a lot of pain for patients.
A massage therapist can advise on methods to manage pain through movement, stretching as well as hydrotherapy, beyond hands on treatment bursitis, to reduce discomfort and aid in recovery.
Cases of bursitis usually come about as a result of overuse, with minor, repetitive stress tending to take its toll over time. As a result, it is most common found in older patients. Acute bursitis, which involves a more sudden inflammation of the bursa, can be the result of fall or other injury which puts an inordinate amount of stress on a particular joint.
Poor posture can also be factor, while bursitis sometimes comes about as a result of another condition such as arthritis. Abnormally placed bones or joints, such as legs of differing lengths, can also contribute to the condition.
Massage therapy diploma students can recognize bursitis by looking for a number of symptoms, including limited range of motion, joint aches and stiffness, as well as swelling and redness in the affected area. Bursitis is most common in areas of the body which experience frequent stress and demand, such as the elbows, heel bones, hips, knees, and shoulders. It also sometimes occurs in the buttocks and thighs.
Neuromuscular massage and myofascial release are the most commonly used massage therapy techniques for patients with bursitis. Generally, massage of the area itself is not recommended, as it can aggravate the inflammation. Instead, massage therapy college students should apply gentle pressure to the surrounding tissue, in order to loosen the fascia in the affected joints, muscles, and bones. Depending on the patient, trigger point therapy may also prove beneficial, while lymphatic drainage can be useful in cases where the condition has resulted in swelling.
When implemented as part of an overall treatment plan, massage can have a number of benefits for patients with bursitis. Soft tissue massage can provide immediate relief for aches and pains that result from the condition, as well reducing the emotional stress living with bursitis can put patients under. Increasing circulation and flexibility around the area will also help to restore full range of motion in the affected joints. For this purpose, a registered massage therapist may recommend some light stretching and lengthening exercises.
Patients with bursitis may also benefit from elevating the joint area, and applying an ice pack to reduce inflammation. The patient’s physician may also recommend anti-inflammatory medicine for the condition.
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