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Dr. Mark J. Kirk &
Dr. James McNally
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Ischial Bursitis


Ischial bursitis is a painful irritation in the buttocks, specifically around the ischia, which are the bony parts you can feel in each buttock when you sit down. Usually, fluid-filled sacs called bursae protect the ischia, cushioning movements between the muscles and bones in the area. With excessive use, however, friction on the bursa can make it inflamed and irritated.

The condition is quite literally a pain in the butt. Symptoms include soreness, tenderness and swelling in the lower buttocks, and patients often notice that this pain worsens with movement. The area may also feel warm to the touch, as heat often accompanies inflammation.

Ischial bursitis can affect anyone, at any age. Patients with the condition aren't necessarily athletic or involved in physically demanding activities. Usually, they report sitting on hard surfaces for long periods of time, and some also report frequently riding horses. Injuries that involve trauma to the ischial bursae, like landing on the buttocks during a fall, can also cause the condition.

In physically active patients with ischial bursitis, the condition often develops after they perform activities that involve excessive contraction of the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the thighs), like running. These muscles can rub on the bursae, making them sore and irritated.

Regardless of the cause, however, conservative chiropractic care is effective for ischial bursitis. Your chiropractor will select from a wide variety of healing modalities that will help decrease pain, decrease inflammation and improve movement.