Bursitis: Commonly prescribed pain medications

27 November 2015
Comments: 0
27 November 2015, Comments: 0

Bursitis involves the inflammation of the bursa which is a sac filled with fluid where the tendons or muscles glide over the bony surfaces. The usual locations include the shoulder, knee, elbow and hip. Extensive use of a particular joint can cause an acute attack that occurs as intense pain and diminished range of motion.

It is important to note that bursitis might also be a chronic condition that is accompanied by persistent pain and stiffness of the joint. The doctor will utilize treatment options to manage the pain using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids or corticosteroid injections. There are several commonly prescribed pain medications that are utilized in managing bursitis.



Extensive use of a particular joint can cause an acute attack that occurs as intense pain and diminished range of motion.

Ibuprofen is categorized as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is readily available over-the-counter. This pain medication is highly effective in managing mild to moderate pain. In some cases, the doctor can prescribe ibuprofen in higher dosages.


Acetaminophen can be used for pain management during mild episodes of bursitis. Remember that this is not an anti-inflammatory, thus it will not help with the swelling or stiffness of the bursa. This medication might be given along with other treatments or medications for bursitis. The individual should avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while using the drug since it increases the risk for liver damage.


Naproxen is categorized as an NSAID that helps manage the pain due to bursitis. This medication is available under various brand names. The prescription-strength tablets start at 250mg dosage. The over-the-counter options are available in 200mg dosage.


This is a corticosteroid that can be given for severe inflammation linked with pain from bursitis. The starting dosage depends on the severity of the symptoms. It usually starts from 5-60mg daily. The doctor will reduce the dosage to a maintenance level for pain control once the desired effect is achieved.


It is important to note that indomethacin is also a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can be prescribed by the doctor in managing acute pain. The ideal initial dosage is 75-150mg on a daily basis that is divided into 3-4 doses. The moment the pain symptoms start to subside, the doctor will reduce the dosage.

Trolamine salicylate

Trolamine salicylate is a pain medication applied topically that works by cutting down the swelling and inflammation in the joint and muscles. It should be rubbed on the skin until fully absorbed. Just remember to keep it out of the mouth, nose and eyes.


As an injectable form of pain medication for bursitis, the doctor might use kenalog. This medication is administered directly into the affected joint to control the pain caused by bursitis. Take note that the solution that is injected might be mixed with a local anesthetic aside from the corticosteroid triamcinolone acetonide.

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