Tendinitis is a very common problem among people of all ages and professions. It can be very painful and prevent people from going about their normal daily activities. Today’s article discusses several ways to self treat problems with tendinitis and offers suggestions for preventing flare ups in the future.
Corey Walden is a licensed personal trainer dedicated to improving people’s health and quality of life. With a focus on preventing injuries, correcting misalignments and diet advice, Corey strives to improve people’s lives. Corey is also a writer for a Natural Remedies site where he helps answer questions about natural treatments for common ailments.
Natural Home Treatments for Tendinitis
Tendinitis can be an irritating to very painful condition that is caused by inflammation to the tendons, which are sinewy cable like tissues that connect muscles to bones. It is usually caused by overuse, and is best known for its effects on many sports specific athletes, such as tennis elbow, but tendinitis is a condition that can affect people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves very active. This is because many of us partake in numerous kinds of repetitive activity during any given day, maybe you type constantly at work, spend hours each weekend gardening, or have another particular action that is carried out repeatedly which puts stress on the tendons. It can also happen to someone at any age. Tendinitis is most common in the limbs, including the rotator cuff in the shoulders, and the Achilles tendon.
The most common symptom of the condition is general discomfort and pain along a tendon, usually near a joint. Many people who have tendinitis will also experience this pain at night. The most distinct symptom is that the pain will be worse with movement or activity on the affected tendon. For some, especially if they have continued ‘working through’ the pain, the condition can be very painful and stop them from being able to continue their work or hobbies, and sometimes can even be mistaken for arthritis because of its potential for close proximity to the joints. However, despite these symptoms, tendinitis is often not too hard to treat on your own.
Because the condition is caused by inflammation and irritation from over use, the number one thing to do if you’re experiencing tendinitis is to stop! If it’s from painting, stop painting. If you have spent a lot of time pushing brooms or rakes, stop! Taking a few days to a week to let the inflammation go down, and let the body heal itself. Using a brace or a sling if it’s an arm can help easily minimize the limbs motion and thereby further irritation on the tendons. If it’s an inflamed knee or ankle, a brace will also work well, and so too will elevating the knee/ankle above heart level to reduce swelling. Icing the sore areas will also help reduce both inflammation and pain. Heat will help with pain, but won’t help the inflammation, but switching back and forth from heat and cold for up to 5 minutes each will offer relief.
In most cases, especially if you can stop whatever was causing the irritation and start treating your tendinitis early, a few days rest is usually all it needs. If you kept pushing on it may take a bit longer, closer to a week or maybe even more. After the first few days if you are no longer feeling pain or discomfort, you can slowly ease back into normal activity, but definitely ease your way in. Jumping right back into the same activity that caused your tendinitis will only make things worse!
If you have tendinitis and it was caused by a job with a repetitive task that you simply can’t take much of a rest from, such as typing as a secretary, there are a few potential options in treatment that you can pursue with a medical professional. The first is to try injections of cortisone, which is a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent that instead being taken orally like various pill based medicines will be injected directly into the affected area. This can work for some cases of tendinitis which may not heal readily on their own or in situations where the cause cannot be entirely stopped. Some people may also get good benefits from certain programs of physical therapy exercises which both strengthen and stretch the affected tendon that can help treat chronic inflammation.
Sometimes with severe enough cases of tendinitis where the tendon has actually be ripped surgery will be required, but this will not help stop the condition itself when the sufferer not being able to stop whatever is causing their pain, such as typing. Because this condition is a problem of overuse and the resulting damage, irritation, and inflammation, if you cannot stop whatever is causing it and rest until you are recovered, you may not be able to stop the condition at all. I would also definitely suggest regular breaks, appropriate stretching, and application of cold packs, use of anti-inflammatories and any other treatments you have decided on throughout the activity, if you must continue. If you are at work, and it is your fingers and wrists from typing, stretch your hands and move them around for at least a few moments every 10-15 minutes, and this may help, but without being able to rest there is no guarantee you will heal.
To be more aggressive about treating the inflammation, you can turn to anti-inflammatory herbs and foods. Using whole or supplemental ginger or turmeric is one of the best ways to fight inflammation, and with supplemental sources you can simply follow the dosage directions listed on the product. Homeopathic treatments often use Ruta or Rhus Tox at a potency of 6-30c, and is available in most health foods stores. Start with lower potencies first and stop taking them as symptoms clearly improve, only upping your potencies if you are getting no results. We must stress, however, that these two medicines should not be taken in the long term or as a chronic treatment, and should be taken with the supervision of a qualified homeopathic practitioner.
If after about a week you see no improvement in pain or sensitivity, even with rest and some of these anti-inflammatory strategies, you should seek medical attention to ensure the pain is not from an actual tear or other more serious injury. Some cases of tendinitis will take a much longer time to heal, especially if it was ignored and worked through, but some of these cases also should be seen by a medical professional.