A bursa is a small, flat, liquid filled sac that reduces friction between two structures, usually tendons and bones. Bursitis occurs when there is inflammation of the bursa.



  • Inflammation, heat and swelling
  • Deep, burning pain at rest or during activity
  • Pain upon compression
  • Range of motion is restricted in the affected joint


  • Pain or achiness is felt with activity or with direct pressure
  • Chronic inflammation and adhesions are present
  • Range of motion is still affected but less so than with acute.


The cause of bursitis is the overuse of structures surrounding the bursa leading to excessive friction and inflammation of the walls of the bursa. Bursitis is often secondary to other conditions such as bursitis.

Contributing factors include:

  • Muscular imbalances
  • Postural dysfunctions such as scoliosis
  • Poor biomechanics (the way the body moves and completes tasks)
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Acute trauma, for example banging your elbow
  • Pathologies including osteoarthritis, gout or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infection

How Can Massage Therapy Help?

Direct treatment to the bursa is not performed. The benefit of Massage Therapy lies in treating the surrounding structures. Since bursitis is usually secondary to another condition, treatment will include loosening the muscles surrounding the bursa and treating any tendinitis that may be present. Hot or cold hydrotherapy will be applied depending on whether bursitis is acute or chronic.