Tendonitis. The invisible condition that causes such intense pain! If you have tendonitis of the elbow, wrist, or forearm, you know not only how painful this is, but how debilitating it is as well!
While tendonitis can occur with any tendon in the body and for many people, this usually occurs in the elbow, wrist, thumb, forearm, and shoulder.
It also tends to hit those over 40 since weak or aging tendons are more easily damaged, but it isn’t an age exclusive problem. Those who are involved in sports activity, weight lifting, or even simply household chores can often irritate the tendon and lead to inflammation.
Repetitive motion is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to tendonitis in the arms. People who do the same motion over and over again, such as typing, computer work, carpentry, cashiers moving items across the scanner, and sports such as tennis, are often victims of tendonitis.
Symptoms of Tendonitis
Tendonitis in the forearms, wrist, or elbow are often painful, red, and the area can be swollen. Other symptoms of tendonitis include:
- Warmth in the area
- Weakness or loss of gripping power
- Pain when gripping or holding an item a certain way
- Throbbing or pulsing feelings
- An inability to bear any weight
- Intense or severe pain when using the affected arm
- A grating or grinding sensation when moving the arm
Most tendonitis cases get their names from common activities that are known to lead to tendonitis, such as golfer’s elbow, trigger finger (or wrist), computer elbow (or wrist), etc.
The good news is that in many cases, tendonitis treatments are very effective. Surgery is occasionally called for when other treatments are not successful, but this is the exception, rather than the rule.
When it comes to your hands and arms, the one thing you want is for the pain to stop so you can use your arms again and return to a normal life!
Who wouldn’t understand that?! Let’s talk about the 7 ideas for stopping the pain and allowing tendonitis to heal that you’ve never thought of.
OK, maybe you have thought of a few of these, but we bet you haven’t tired all of these!
Idea #1- Stop Doing This!
The difficult thing to accept about tendonitis of the hand or tendonitis of the wrist or the elbow and forearm is that anything you do to activate (move) that tendon will only make things worse. How to get rid of tendonitis in your hand? How do you treat tendonitis in the arm? You need to stop!
Stop doing the following, even if it doesn’t hurt to do so right now:
- Throwing anything (no matter how lightweight)
- Hitting (even hitting a pillow is not a good idea right now)
- Pulling (this means doors, handles, hair brushes/combs or gas pump handles)
- Lifting (not even your cat!)
- Typing (no laptops, typewriters, computers, or tablets)
- Texting (use your other arm if you must use your cell phone)
- Holding a book, drinking glass, tablet or anything over 6 ounces
If there are other movements that bring you pain, you need to stop doing them at least until your arm has healed. No one likes to think about losing the use of one arm, but it is necessary, at least for a short while, if you want to avoid surgery.
Tendonitis Recovery Time
This will depend on the severity of the tendonitis, the age and health of the patient, and how willing they are to give the body time to rest.
Minor cases of tendonitis often heal in two to three weeks with proper care and a few days of rest.
More severe cases often need weeks of rest, occasionally even a few months.
You should seek qualified care from your local chiropractor who will advise you on the length of time you will need to rest your arm and the best treatment plan for you.
Idea #2-Heat and Ice
This idea seems simple enough, but you would be amazed at the number of people who don’t take the healing properties of ice and heat very seriously.
If the pain has recently started, ice is generally the best option for reducing swelling and inflammation. Apply ice packs (always use a cloth) to the area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off several times per day.
If you have had this pain for a few weeks, or if ice therapy causes you more pain, use heat. Moist heat works best. Soak a sock or cloth in hot water, then add some rice. Heat this in the microwave and apply to the affected area. You can also use hot wax baths or soak in your bathtub. Heating pads and hot water bottles are other good options for heat.
Idea #3-Physical Therapy Modalities
Physical therapy modalities and chiropractic go hand in hand, which is why many chiropractors offer these types of healing treatments. Some of the therapies your chiropractor might suggest include:
- Cold Laser Therapy
- Rehabilitation exercises
- TENS device
Everyone is different and different areas of the arm that are experiencing tendonitis might respond better to one type of therapy over another. Your chiropractor will determine the correct treatment program for your condition.
Idea #5-Stop the Inflammation
With tendonitis, it’s all about the inflammation, so stopping it is your main concern. You can do this in a variety of ways, including:
- Anti-Inflammatory Supplements. Ask your doctor, chiropractor, or pharmacist about supplements known to stop inflammation such as green tea, curcumin, magnesium, and fish oil.
- Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables, along with healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and organic meats can limit inflammation. Foods like refined flour, sugar, and unhealthy fats, such as margarine, can increase inflammation.
- Limit Alcohol
- Stop Smoking
Be sure to speak to your doctor, chiropractor, or pharmacist before taking supplements or making major changes to your diet.
Idea #6-Chiropractic Massage
We knew this one would get your attention. Nothing feels better than a nice massage but a chiropractic massage, which is performed under the guidance of the chiropractor, can turn an ordinary massage into a healing one.
As part of your overall chiropractic care, the doctor will determine when your arm is ready for massage and what type of massage would be best for you. Massage has multiple benefits when it come to healing and this is also true of tendonitis injuries.
Idea #7-Chiropractic Care
The sad truth is that most people will rest the affected arm for a while, then return to their normal life and the activities which caused the tendonitis in the first place. It often returns with a vengeance. Seeking chiropractic care can help to prevent this from happening.
Inflammation often decreases within 3 weeks, but healing takes an additional 3 weeks to 3 months, depending on the severity. The body often uses scar tissue to help repair the injury, but this scar tissue needs to be broken down to restore flexibility and full mobility to the arm.
Chiropractic care is an outstanding choice for natural, holistic treatment that will reduce pain and restore your arm to its former functional state and prevent it from ever coming back!
What if I Need Surgery or Something Else?
If you should have a severe case of tendonitis and you end up needed cortisone injections or other treatments not provided by your chiropractor, don’t worry! They will refer you to the proper specialist and work with your doctor until you are restored to full health.
Can Tendonitis Ever Go Away?
Yes, it does. We understand your frustration. When you can’t use your arm for days or even weeks and it seems as if your entire life is on hold, it sometimes feels as if tendonitis will be with you forever, but this isn’t true. With proper care, tendonitis does run its course.
The sooner you seek treatment for your tendonitis, the sooner you can be on the road to recovery. If you aren’t sure that what you are feeling is tendonitis, see your primary care physician or chiropractor for a complete diagnosis and plan of action to soothe and heal your tendonitis.
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At Better Health Chiropractic & Rehab, we care about stopping pain of all kinds. If you believe you have tendonitis pain or if you are experiencing any other type of pain, we encourage you to call our office for an appointment. We are open late and offer same day appointments. You can also make an appointment online by clicking here.
Our friendly staff would be happy to check your insurance regarding coverage and deductibles. If you have no insurance, you must read this article.
Take charge of your health and don’t let anyone tell you that your pain will “go away in time.” Seek out quality medical care. Your body has to last you a lifetime, so take good care of it!