Fibromyalgia and bursitis may not seem all that similar to many
people, but both cause a similar sort of pain in the muscles, tendons and
While fibromyalgia pain is typically more generalized – meaning
it can easily occur anywhere in the body – it is commonly felt in the same
areas where bursitis pain is felt, usually shoulders, elbows, legs, hips and
In many cases, fibromyalgia and bursitis can both be caused by
repetitive movements. While bursitis related to an injury will likely heal on
its own over time, fibromyalgia will not. There is unfortunately no cure for
fibromyalgia for the time being.
However, there are some healthy habits you can adopt, and some
things you can make part of your lifestyle to help you deal with fibromyalgia
Exercise for Fibromyalgia
If you have fibromyalgia, exercise may increase your pain right
when you first start however, this should go away fairly quickly as your
muscles build strength.
Regular exercise can usually decrease pain related to
fibromyalgia. When you first start out, look for low-impact exercises that you
can do at a slow to moderate pace like swimming, walking or riding a bicycle.
Exercises like sports that put a lot of pressure on your joints
and muscles including tennis, basketball and running should be avoided, at
least at first.
Exercise for Bursitis
The most important thing you can do when you have bursitis is to
avoid irritating the injured area.
For example, if you have bursitis in your elbow, you shouldn’t
exercise by playing golf or tennis – that will only inflame the area.
Instead, choose exercises that don’t require too much from that
area, like running or riding a bicycle.
As your bursitis gets better, you can start easing into
exercises that involve the injured area, but you should do this slowly, and
only after your doctor says it’s okay.
Also, make sure to have an antiinflammatory you can take to ease
the pain that results from bursitis. It may not take away the pain completely,
but you’ll notice a significant shift in intensity.
Exercises like yoga can be beneficial for people with
fibromyalgia and bursitis because it is a low-impact activity.
Many people also experience a decrease in pain and a reduced
stress level after taking a yoga class or doing yoga at home.
Stress reduction is particularly important when it comes to
treating fibromyalgia. Less stress means that your entire body is relaxed
giving you a lesser possibility of flare ups.
If you choose to do yoga when you have bursitis, make sure you
avoid poses that put too much strain on the injured area, especially within the
first few weeks after the injury.
What you eat can play a significant role in how you feel, and
this is true of healthy people, as well as people with chronic conditions like
fibromyalgia and injuries like bursitis.
Eating right can help to reduce the pain associated with
fibromyalgia and bursitis and help to speed up the recovery process.
Foods that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can help
to relieve inflammation and reduce pain caused by fibromyalgia and bursitis.
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fish like
salmon, tuna and certain nuts, like walnuts and cashews.
While foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are good for relieving
pain, certain ones, like nuts, can be high in fat, which can cause you to gain
weight, so you want to make sure you’re eating them in moderation.
For many people, supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids
like fish oil are more beneficial.
About half of the people who suffer from fibromyalgia also
suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. Fresh fruit that’s loaded with fiber
can help, and it can also provide your body with nutrients that it needs to
combat the pain.
Fresh fruit that contains large amounts of antioxidants
should definitely be part of your diet if you have fibromyalgia or bursitis.
Berries are particularly high in antioxidants, so stock up on
blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries – pretty much any berry
that you like. They also make a great substitute for foods that can actually
make pain worse.
Dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli are also
beneficial for people with fibromyalgia and bursitis in many cases, and they
are part of a proper, well-balanced diet.
Fibromyalgia and bursitis symptoms are worse for those that are
overweight. Proper portion control is essential, especially if you can’t give
up all of the processed foods that you like, like enriched pasta or potato
chips, for example.
If you absolutely must eat those foods, check the nutrition
labels and actually measure out a single serving to eat. That can help keep you
from overdoing it, which could cause you more pain and result in weight gain.
When it comes to healthy foods like green vegetables and fresh
fruit, you don’t have to limit your portions quite as much. Foods that contain
a lot of water-soluble fiber like broccoli are also a great way to keep your
weight in check since it fills you up without putting a ton of calories into
There are actually vegetables, like celery for example, that are
so low in calories that your body will actually burn more calories digesting
than there are in the vegetable.
Foods to Avoid
Fibromyalgia is notoriously hard to treat, and pain related to
bursitis doesn’t usually respond to a change in diet too much because it’s an
injury however, some foods can increase inflammation and cause more pain.
Those foods are generally ones that are high in both
carbohydrates and sugar – foods like white bread, enriched pasta, cookies,
snack cakes and potato chips.
These foods should be avoided, especially if you have
fibromyalgia. Try replacing them with healthier alternatives – enriched pasta
for whole wheat pasta, for example, or dried fruit instead of oatmeal cookies.
While you can get all of the nutrients you need from a
well-balanced diet, many people find it very difficult, especially if they have
food allergies or just don’t like to eat certain foods.
Supplements can help. For people with fibromyalgia and bursitis,
a daily multivitamin may be all that’s required.
Fish oil supplements can also be beneficial because of their
high omega fatty acid content. Calcium can also be a concern, particularly for
women over the age of 40 with fibromyalgia.
If you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, a basic calcium
supplement may help to keep you healthy, though it may not reduce your pain in
This is extremely important in women who stop absorbing calcium
after their twenty’s. After that the calcium in your body starts to deplete.
Taking care of the pain associated with fibromyalgia and
bursitis is important, but a lot of people don’t really know the right methods.
While what works for you may not work for somebody else, there
are some basic at home treatments that are generally effective.
In some cases, using a heating pad or a warming cream can help
to relieve the pain caused by fibromyalgia, but it is generally a temporary
Unfortunately, ice and heat don’t affect fibromyalgia too much.
Instead of worrying about those basic pain relieving methods, try to reduce
your overall stress level however you can, and make sure you get enough sleep
Good sleep habits are integral when it comes to preventing
fibromyalgia pain, especially when combined with a light to moderate exercise
Using ice to help swollen areas is typically beneficial for
Try to ice the injured area every 2 to 3 hours for about 15
minutes at a time, using an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or towel to avoid
Rest and immobilization is also key to recovering from bursitis,
so using an elbow or knee brace and avoiding activities that involve affected
areas will help.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help as long as they
are taken as recommended by the manufacturer and with your doctor’s approval.
Marcela De Vivo for TheMomsBuzz.com
About the guest blogger:
Marcela De Vivo is a full time mom
of three, yoga enthusiast, and freelance writer in the L.A. area. She writes
mostly on health,well-being, and beauty with a focus on habits for healthy hair and skin.