Bursitis is painful inflammation of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac that cushions a body site that is subject to pressure and friction). It is most often seen in the shoulder, but is also common in elbows, knees, hips, heels, and other areas. The cause of bursitis is often overuse, but injury or infection may also be involved. Homeopathic remedies often help to ease discomfort.
For dosage information, please read the information at the end of this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional Guidance” in What Is Homeopathy?
Arnica montana: This remedy is especially useful when bursitis is related to traumatic injury or strain. The affected area feels bruised and sore, and the person tries to avoid being touched, because of pain.
Belladonna: Bursitis with a sensation of heat and throbbing, along with intense discomfort caused by jarring and touch, suggests a need for this remedy. The area often is red and swollen, and the overlying skin feels hot.
Bryonia: When bursitis pain has a stitching or tearing quality and is worse from even the slightest motion, this remedy is a likely choice. The affected area is hot and swollen, feeling worse from warmth.
Ferrum phosphoricum: Inflammation, especially in the right shoulder—with pain that extends to the wrist, or sometimes to the neck—may be soothed by this remedy. Gentle motion and cool applications often bring relief. The person’s face may be flushed and pinkish.
Kalmia latifolia: Pain that starts in a higher joint (especially the hip or shoulder), and shoots or travels downward, suggests a need for this remedy. Right shoulder bursitis is common and extends to the elbow, wrist, or hand. Pain and inflammation may come on suddenly, and often shift around. Discomfort is worse from motion, worse at night, and has a neuralgic character.
Rhus toxicodendron: This remedy is helpful to those who experience stiffness and pain on initial movement, gradually improving as motion continues—although too much motion can also aggravate the pain. Pain is often worse during sleep and on waking in the morning. Cold, damp weather can increase the problems, and warm applications and baths bring relief.
Ruta graveolens: If bursitis is acute—with swelling, great stiffness, and aching pain—this remedy may be indicated. Problems can be aggravated by stretching, and the person often feels fatigued or weak. Cold and dampness make things worse, and lying down to rest may help. This remedy is often useful for bursitis after injuries.
Sanguinaria: This remedy is often indicated for bursitis in the shoulder—especially the right shoulder. Raising the arm is difficult, and pain can extend down the arm if the shoulder is moved. Discomfort may be worse at night in bed, from lying on the affected part, and also when turning over. Flushing of the face and a tendency toward allergies or migraines are often seen in people who need Sanguinaria.
Sulphur: This remedy may be indicated for bursitis—especially on the left side—with inflammation and burning pain. Symptoms will be aggravated by warmth and bathing. A person needing Sulphur often has a slouching posture and feels worse from standing up for extended lengths of time.
Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.
Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient.
If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
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The information presented in Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.