Bursitis & using essential oils that may help

by Penny Keay © 2012

You just finished painting the whole living room, it looks great but now what is causing that pain and discomfort in your ‘shoulder’? Did I strain it, sprain it? Over work the muscles or could it be bursitis?

Well, it could be a combination of all of the above. Repetitive motion such as painting can easily cause your joint capsule to become irritated and inflamed. Usually folks can tell if it is muscle pain from being overworked but when it comes to joint pain it is not as easy.

The best way to find out what is causing the pain and discomfort is to see your physician. Once you have it confirmed that it is a case of bursitis then you can implement some natural methods to help you feel better.

What is this thing called bursitis? Well, simply it is inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a fluid filled capsule or sac like structure that surrounds each and every joint in the body. It helps the tendons and muscles to move over and around bones and not cause pain. Where ever you have bones meeting, there will be a bursa. Bursitis is typically seen in the shoulder, elbows, knees & hips. But any joint can be affected.

One person described the bursa by correlating it to a zip-lock bag filled with a tiny amount of oil that has no air present.

Now, if you put the small amount of fluid in a zip-lock bag, hold it between your two palms of your hands and move them back and forth, you see how smoothly it moves. Well, the bursa does similar it helps to keep the joint lubricated by holding in the lubrication. If there were no fluid or if the zip-lock bag was damaged you would not be able to move the bag so easily.

Causes of bursitis can be the result of repetitive motion or if the joint is jarred or damaged the bursa can also be injured. The inflammation that results to the bursa is called bursitis. The joint can be hot, swollen and very painful when moved.

It is very important to keep the joint relatively immobile during the healing process. Remember you can always use a bit of cold or ice packs for initial pain and discomfort but as the bursa heals, warming the joint may help it feel better. Especially if the joint is one you need to continue to use. In some folks, alternating warm and cold helps to speed healing better.

To help reduce inflammation there are several essential oils that have this property. There are a number of essential oils that have heating and anti-inflammatory properties to varying degrees.

Helichrysum and German Chamomile are known for their anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties: As are Eucalyptus polybractea or Eucalyptus radiata, too.

Lavender can help if you don’t have these other oils available. Other anti-inflammatory oils include: Basil, Geranium, Rosemary, *** Sweet Birch and ***Wintergreen (***both of these are okay for short term use but not chronic ailments).

Heating type essential oils are Ginger , Black Pepper, Sweet Marjoram, Juniper berry , Bay laurel and Peppermint . There are several other essential oils that may work also for you. They include Clove bud , Cinnamon leaf , Thyme, Oregano and Fennel Some essential oils can cause skin irritation (redness) if blended in too strong concentration. So do follow blending guidelines when adding these particular essential oils.

Once you have reduced the initial inflammation you will want to begin to use that particular joint very slowly at first. You will need to strengthen the muscle and tendons slowly to help prevent future recurrences.

Warming up the joint with a massage oil, lotion or cream using a variety of essential oils that not only warm the joint capsule, but also helps to reduce inflammation and discomfort will help to speed the healing process.

Here is a recipe that can be used for the first few days to help with the inflammation and pain. You can mix it in a light lotion or add to your choice of carrier oils. Castor oil is known to help with soft tissue injuries and arthritis so you may want to consider using it as part of your carrier oil blend. Because Castor oil has a tendency to be rather thick and sticky, you may want to ‘thin’ it down using a lighter oil such as Sunflower oil

Others will find it most beneficial to have this recipe blended in lotion or cream so that it won’t stain clothing or feel too ‘oily’ like some carrier oils can.

Bursitis Blend
Helichrysum – 6 drops
German Chamomile – 6 drops
Sweet Marjoram – 4 drops
Sweet Birch – 4 drops
Lavender – 4 drops
Ginger – 4 drops
Juniper berry – 4 drops

To 2 ounces of your choice of carrier oil or lotion

Blend the essential oils together in a Glass bottle or Beaker. Then add to your oil, lotion and cream . Blend or stir well. Apply as needed to the affected joint.

Now that you have survived this incident of Bursitis the best medicine to help prevent a recurrence is to start to exercise and strengthen the muscles and supportive tissues. Remember to start slow, warm up the muscles and stretch the ligaments and tendons in gentle manner. Use a warming oil or lotion blend prior to your exercise and again afterwards if desired.

Please see our “Fresh for You” massage oils for several massage oils that may help while you are experiencing discomfort. There are several that are great to apply prior to any workout or exercise. CLICK HERE for premixed massage oils

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We do not endorse, nor do we encourage anyone to implement Aromatherapy or any suggestions contained within this site without the consent of his/her medical doctor. We also do not take any liability for your implementation of any oils, recipes, or anything else available through this site, from any book or company recommendation, or available on any site linked from Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy, LLC


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Copyright © 2012 Penny Keay
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