When something beneficial is taken to an extreme, it ceases to be good for you. It’s true of just about anything — even childhood action songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
Sure, it starts out being fun and even gets the blood pumping, but thousands and thousands of choruses later, you may notice that your elbows are swelling, your buddy’s shoulders have painful-looking bumps, and your neighbor’s knees aren’t working properly any longer. What could the problem be? Aside from the fact that you and your cohorts have the oddest of addictions, you’re probably suffering from bursitis.
Bursitis is the painful inflammation of a bursa, a fluid-filled cavity designed to protect and lubricate your joints [source: University of Maryland Medical Center]. Bursitis can be caused by bumping or bruising, repeated pressure or — in many cases — overuse. And if you have bursitis, you already know this: It hurts.
The good news is, once you tone down your activity, the symptoms of bursitis begin to disappear. If you know the precise movement that’s causing the pain, it’s time to back off that activity, at least temporarily. The pain of bursitis may disappear completely after a few days of resting the affected joint. But this doesn’t mean ceasing all movement, especially if the problem is in your shoulder. Immobilizing the shoulder can “freeze” the joint with adhesions (fibrous tissue) and scar tissue. Just take it easy and try to avoid the movement or activity that brought on the pain.
Here’s how to speed your recovery along and get back to singing, dancing and whatever else floats your proverbial boat.