Physical Therapy for Bursitis

Physical therapy can help you manage your symptoms caused by bursitis – an inflammation of the bursa. In bursitis, a small sac filled with small amounts of fluid called bursa is irritated and consequently become inflamed causing pain and swelling. The physical therapy treatment that you will receive depends on where you have bursitis, your symptoms, and your overall goal of physical rehabilitation.

Your First Physical Therapy Visit

During your first visit, your physical therapist will be asking you about your symptoms, you activity at the time you felt your symptoms, and your usual activities or line of work. Your PT will be asking more relevant questions including your past medical history. Be sure to tell your therapist about other medical conditions that you might have.

Your therapist will then conduct a thorough physical evaluation and examination of your involved joint and other surrounding structures. After that, your physical therapist will formulate a comprehensive treatment plan specifically made for you and will discuss them to you. You will be actively participating in decision making regarding your treatment plan.

Your PT may start your treatment immediately after plan of care has been decided or you will return on a later scheduled date. Your treatment may include cold therapy, heat therapy, therapeutic exercises, postural training, manual therapy, electrotherapeutic modalities, and other techniques and devices that your physical therapist deems important for your recovery.

Physical Therapy Treatments for Bursitis

There are different types of bursitis. The treatment that you will receive depends on your symptoms, location of bursitis, severity of injury, and your stated goals. The following are treatment options that your PT may decide to include in your plan of care.
  • Ice or hot pack
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Iontophoresis
  • Ultrasound (Phonophoresis)
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Manual stretching
  • Joint mobilization
  • Therapeutic exercises (Physical therapy exercises)
    • Gradual range of motion (ROM) exercises
    • Stretching exercises
    • Progressive strengthening exercises
  • Suggest splinting or bracing when necessary
  • Postural training
  • Patient education
    • About bursitis
    • Activity modification
    • Precautions to observe
    • Self-care of symptoms
    • Injury prevention
  • Work or sports-specific rehabilitation program

Again, the type of treatment that you will receive depends on your particular problems and goals. Your physical therapist will be discussing with you the benefits that you will get from the treatments provided. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the treatments that you are receiving from your therapist as he or she will gladly discuss them with you.

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