The most common areas afflicted by tendinitis are the shoulder, wrist, elbow, knee, heel and ankle. It is painful and can interfere with daily activities.
What is Tendinitis?
A tendon is a fibrous structure that connects muscles to bone. The word tendinitis means inflammation of a tendon. The term tendinitis should be reserved for tendon injuries that involve acute injuries accompanied by pain, inflammation and swelling of the affected area.
Tendinitis injuries are common in the upper shoulder and lower section of the elbow, including the rotator cuff attachments and are less common in the hips and torso. Individual variation in frequency and severity of tendinitis will vary depending on the type, frequency and severity of exercise or use; for example, rock climbers tend to develop tendinitis in their fingers or elbows and swimmers in their shoulders. Achilles tendinitis is a common injury particularly in sports.
Symptoms can vary from aches or pains and local joint stiffness, to a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the inflamed tendon. In some cases, swelling occurs along with heat and redness and there may be visible knots surrounding the joint. With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and after activity and the tendon and joint area can become stiff the following day as muscles tighten from the movement of the tendon.
Tendon injury treatments vary. The most common is rest, ice, compression and elevation. Resting assists in the prevention of further damage to the tendon. Gradual return to easy exercise or physical or occupational therapy is sometimes recommended. Initial recovery is typically within 2 to 3 days and full recovery within 3 to 6 months. Treatment of tendinitis helps reduce some of the risks of developing tendinosis, a chronic condition, which takes longer to heal.
Chiropractic Care – is the first natural treatment to consider. Your chiropractor can assess the severity of your tendinitis and advise the best treatment regime for you in order to prevent further damage to the affected area.
Acupuncture – for those not familiar with this treatment – fine hollow-pointed needles are inserted by an Acupuncturist into the skin on certain points on the body called meridians. The practice is designed to remove blocks and rebalance vital energy.
Friction Massage Therapy – is a technique that can be performed at home as a natural pain treatment. Using gentle, but firm pressure, massage the tendon with the pads of your fingers or thumb, perpendicular to the fibers of the tendon. Do this for approximately two minutes. This may cause some discomfort, but should ease as massage continues. Repeat the process using a bit more pressure and stop after 2 minutes. Repeat with more pressure for another 2 minutes. After massaging apply an ice pack for another 2 minutes or until the area feels numb.
Note: It is important that the discomfort should be bearable and ease during massage. If it does not, or pain becomes worse, do not use friction massage.
Essential Oils – Eucalyptus oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory and provides pain relief when massaged directly into the site of tendonitis pain. Those with high blood pressure should avoid eucalyptus. Lavender has a soothing, calming effect and can provide natural tendonitis pain relief when massaged into the afflicted tendon. Those with low blood pressure should avoid lavender. Take care to avoid sensitive areas such as lips and eyes with any essential oil. Start out with a small amount to test for possible allergic reaction and use sparingly.
Supplements & Herbs – Vitamin C can aid in healing tendonitis as it is critical to fighting the body’s inflammatory response. Additional Vitamin C can boost the immune system. Calcium and Magnesium are essential to proper muscle and connective tissue function. If your diet does not contain proper amounts of these minerals they can be taken in the form of supplements. Boswellia is another natural herbal pain reliever that can be used.
Regular visits to your Chiropractor can keep your body moving at its optimal level and help you to heal faster after injury. Don’t let pain interfere with your daily activities!
[i] Kari Farmer – Posted on 2010-09-13 – ABC Article