Blogging from A to Z Challenge, Day 2: B is for Bursitis #atozchallenge

The bursa are little pockets of fluid in the joints throughout the body.  Bursa can become inflamed due to trauma, repetitive motions, or infection.  Inflamed bursa are known as bursitis.  Bursitis can occur in one joint, or many joints.

I started studying up on bursitis about a year and a half ago, after a bad shoulder injury from walking my dog in one of those charity walks.  We showed up late (as usual) and were running to catch up to the rest of the pack of walkers... we never did catch up with them, but as a result, Charlie (my dog) yanked my arm practically out of the socket for a good hour or so!  It takes a lot for me to go to a doctor to get a dog-walking injury checked out (I've had so many I've lost count)... but this one was bad.  I waited the requisite month that you always read about.... "Symptoms for a month or longer" or whatever, and made the appointment.  What a joke, they did all kinds of tests, gave me powerful drugs that had too many side effects (as usual!), and declared it was bursitis in my shoulder, but that the numbness was from carpal tunnel syndrome.  I just laughed.  I've had carpal tunnel syndrome for years, being a professional typist and data entry clerk since I was a teenager!  And here they were diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome?!!   All I could do was laugh.  But I did become interested in the near afterthought of bursitis.

For over a year, my entire arm would go pins and needles throughout the day, and the shoulder and entire arm was in excruciating pain.  I couldn't "shake it out" the way I can when my hands go numb from carpal tunnel.  This was very different.  I don't have the energy to argue with doctors anymore.  So, once again, I just lived through it.  The symptoms have subsided to the point where my shoulder doesn't hurt very often (unless I walk the dog, and then the same movement aggravates the shoulder). The pins and needles only happens sometimes.  The pain in the rest of my arm only happens sometimes.  It's still bothersome, but I live with it, just like all the fibromyalgia symptoms.

And then, it happened again.  But this time much more mysterious.  Suddenly, one day, I had pain in my left hip.  I did nothing to cause this.  It was so excruciating, I could not sit down.  This creates a problem since (see above) I'm a typist/bookkeeper/data entry person and I need to sit for my job.  I actually discussed getting a stand-up workstation with my boss!  But that would create its own set of problems, since I can't stand up for long periods of time because I get dizzy.  I thought, this is it, I may actually have to throw in the towel and apply for disability.  Again, I waited much longer than the required "month" (more like six months), and instead of seeking out my regular doctor, I went to a naturopath.  She immediately referred me to a chiropractor.  My only previous experience with a chiropractor was, shall we say, not good.  So, I was skeptical.  But this guy came highly recommended by the naturopath who is also a patient of his.  So, off I went.  Amazingly, after three appointments, my hip pain subsided to the point where it was bearable.

Then, one day, I wore my gray boots.  They are not high-heeled or anything like that.  They're low, well-constructed boots you can slip on and off, almost like slippers.  Hey, I wear yoga clothes and orthopedic shoes, I am not a fashionista.  My hip pain flared up like ya read about.  I could hardly walk at all, taking one step was excruciating.  I traced the pain back to the gray boots, which I had started wearing when the weather got colder, six months before!  I haven't put the gray boots in the Salvation Army bin yet, but that's where they're going.

This long story about my hip and shoulder, is all to tell you about bursitis.  Bursitis most commonly affects (you guessed it!) the shoulder, hip, elbow, knee or Achilles tendon.  The first symptom is PAIN, followed by loss of motion.  People with the shoulder version often get "frozen shoulder".  I had "frozen hip".  I could hardly walk.  It was horrible.

It's funny how they tell you to "avoid activities that aggravate the problem" and "rest the injured area". Well, when sitting aggravates the (hip) problem, what a conundrum!  Another suggestion (one given by the doctors, but also found on WebMD and other sites) is to "ice the area".  Are you kidding me?  Nobody is putting ICE on my body.  The only time I ice anything is if I walk into a piece of furniture and know I'm going to get a bruise -- grab the bag of frozen peas out of the freezer and plop it on the area.  But there is no way I'm going to sit around icing my hip and shoulder.  Are you insane?  I have sensitivity to cold!  No, it isn't happening.

The funniest line in the WebMD synopsis of bursitis is "If the condition does not improve in a week, see your doctor."  Well, I did that and the results are detailed above.  A week! ha ha ha.

Have a bursitis story of your own?  Tell me about it in the comments.

I'm participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month. My theme is fibromyalgia symptoms. And here comes the disclaimer:  I'm not a medical professional -- not even close. I'll be sharing my own experiences with fibromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Please consult a professional if you have a chronic illness, or suspect you do. My blog is purely my own opinion and experience. It is not intended to serve as medical advice.