Inflamed bursa (Synovial lining that protects the joint by lubricating it and cushioning the joint to some degree) will usually heal if you protect it from further trauma. It takes a few weeks to heal, but is common to reoccur. If a person is doing repetitive tasks, this can inflame the bursae or if there is a lot of pressure on them. Increases with age. Depending on which joint is affected will depend on types of prevention and the person can look this up easily on the web. There are many causes of bursitis, including overuse injury, infectious disease, trauma, and inflammatory disorders.
You really need to know where and why there is bursitis. It can be as simple as a student resting their elbows on a desk all day. Different areas of the body and different causes will get different treatments possibly. So, this is super general and really about trauma (from accident or surgery) and over-use as other causes would have a lot of additional issues to deal with. If a person has septic bursitis they need to attend to the infection of course. If it is an autoimmune condition or systemic inflammatory conditions, that needs to be attended to. These might include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, spondyloarthropathy, and gout.
Rest, ice to reduce swelling initially if there is an initiating trauma. Then after 48 hours it is good to use hot and cold hydrotherapy with 3 minutes hot and 30 seconds cold. You do this around the joint three time alternating back and fourth and end with the cold. This will increase blood flow and lymph flow to the area, bringing in nutrients and removing waste and is a powerful method to increase healing. This needs to be completed once per day, but better 2-3 times per day. Herbs that are counter irritants can also be applied which will also move blood and decrease remove debris in the area. Both the hydrotherapy and the herbs will increase circulation, reduce inflammation and reduce pain. Essential oils can be diluted with a fixed oil and applied topically such as wintergreen, or peppermint.
Acupuncture is useful for pain and inflammation of bursitis for some people.
If the person has gout and high uric acid, this can be the problem and decreasing uric acid is important then. High oxalic acid is also a possibility and I understand Xisca has a page about it on Permies. These could both cause joint pain that can include bursitis.
Excess weight on a joint is also a problem and needs to be remedied.
Epsom salt baths daily
Internal anti-inflammatory herbs -You can use anti-inflammatory herbs internally, but I would really stress a good diet and using the topical applications I mentioned above.
Support of the joint area and/or muscles is important as is needed for that specific area so it does not reoccur. This may involve exercise, massage, learning to walk or change your posture etc. Again depends on where and why.
The bursa need to be nurtured like the rest of our body.
Eat a healthy diet - cold water fish, bone broth, sulfur foods , plenty of fruits and vegetables and general nutrients for support of tissues in joints. Think general joint support when eating or if taking supplements.
No refined food, esp. sugar.
May You Walk in Beauty,
Sharol Tilgner ND
Sharol's books available at website
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee