Bursitis makes sitting painful
DEAR DRS. DONOHUE AND ROACH: I spent a few days, seven months ago, sitting on a hard chair. Since then, I have been dealing with pain upon sitting down. I was diagnosed with ischial tuberosity pain (weaver's bottom). Please discuss what can be done for this condition and how long it might last. -- S.Z.
ANSWER: A bursa is a sac that contains a small amount of fluid. It allows muscles, tendons and other soft tissues to move over bony prominences without damage or getting stuck. These can be injured with repeated trauma. Many of the bursae in the body can become filled with fluid and inflamed -- bursitis.
The ischial bursae are located just underneath the hip bones, in between the bone and the muscles right where we sit down. Sitting on a hard chair is a classic way of getting a bursitis. In ischial tuberosity pain, the ischial bursae fills up with fluid, and this causes pain with some movements and when sitting down.
Bursitis usually is treated with an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen. In my experience, these usually work, but some people may need to try more than one before finding the one that works for them. However, others do not get better with medication, and for those people, a trial of an injection into the area could be considered. This procedure should only be done by an expert, such as a rheumatologist.
A thick foam rubber cushion with two holes cut out at the points of tenderness may be of benefit. Stretching and a knees-to-chest movement can be helpful. Despite this, there are cases (like yours) that can last for many months. Most eventually do get better.
DEAR DRS. DONOHUE AND ROACH: I eat smoked salmon several times per week. I have heard that eating too many smoked foods can be a problem. Do I need to be worried? -- S.M.
ANSWER: Salmon is a very healthy fish, has good amounts of healthy omega 3 fat and tends to be low in mercury, so I often recommend salmon. However, the process of smoking salmon adds sodium. The amount varies greatly from one brand to another, but about 500 milligrams sodium per ounce is an average -- that's a lot if you are consuming several ounces several times weekly, so be careful of that. We recommend less than 2,400 mg of sodium daily.
There is a theoretical concern of higher cancer risk, especially stomach cancer, in people who eat a lot of smoked foods, but I doubt the risk is substantial in the amounts you are consuming. Still, because of the sodium, I would recommend changing at least some of your salmon intake to fresh, not smoked.
DEAR DRS. DONOHUE AND ROACH: The past few times I've seen my doctor, a nurse has taken my blood pressure and said it's "a little high." The doctor never mentioned it. If my doctor isn't concerned, should I be? -- J.B.
ANSWER: I, too, would assume that your blood pressure doesn't call for treatment if the doctor says nothing. I don't understand why your blood pressure is a state secret. Come right out and ask what it is. Blood pressure usually isn't treated with medicine until it reaches 130/90.
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