Whether you are talking about your wrist, elbow, knee, or shoulder, tendonitis, and its cousin bursitis, are painful and troublesome problems that can affect anyone at almost any age.
The pain of tendonitis usually comes on gradually, hurting just a bit more each day until one day, you simply can’t use the joint because it hurts so much!
Sometimes, however, due to an injury, tendonitis can come on within a few hours, causing some very intense pain.
One of the problems with tendonitis is that it doesn’t respond to the usual over the counter pain killers. People often don’t believe that “it hurts that much” because this is an injury they cannot see, unlike broken bones, cuts, or abrasions.
Inflammation hurts and that’s exactly what tendonitis is; an inflammation of the tendon, that thick cord that attaches the muscle to the bone.
Because tendonitis is most often caused by repetitive motion, this type of injury goes by a variety of names associated with the movement involved, such as:
Depending on what part of the body and how severe the inflammation is, tendonitis symptoms can vary, but most people experience the following:
The pain will usually begin when you start the activity that caused the tendonitis to begin with. For example, trying to run will get the pain in your knee started or using a computer keyboard will make your elbow begin to ache. Unfortunately, simply stopping the activity doesn’t make the pain instantly stop.
Again, while you can get tendonitis from an injury, lifting a weight that is far too heavy, for example, most people develop tendonitis from repetitive motion.
While it sometimes feels as if tendonitis is a part of your life forever, for the majority of people, it does go away with proper treatment.
How long does it take for tendonitis to go away? This depends on the severity of the inflammation and the patient’s cooperation.
Many times, tendonitis will resolve itself within 4-8 weeks. However, depending on the situation, most people simply cannot take 4-8 weeks off of work or they don’t want to stop doing their favorite activity (golfing/gardening/baseball) for that amount of time.
Probably not. Unless the tendon has ruptured (pulled off of the bone or muscle) surgery is rarely needed.
For some people, when the inflammation is slow to dissipate, or it doesn’t respond to rest and other treatments, cortisone injections are sometimes used, but this is also not very common.
Yes. Almost every type of tendonitis can be treated from home, however, it can take weeks for your joint to heal.
Seeing your chiropractor can help to lower the amount of time it takes for tendonitis to go away. Once the inflammation is under control, your chiropractor will manipulate the joint, restoring mobility and removing any subluxations that might be present. Other modalities include chiropractic massage, ultrasound, and physical rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles and tendons.
Typical advice says to stop using the affected joint for several weeks and allow the inflammation to go away. Since this isn’t very practical, we’ve made a list of the best home remedies for tendonitis that might help speed healing and reduce inflammation more quickly.
While you might not be able to stop working for very long, you can help your tendonitis to heal by stopping any exercise you might be doing that will aggravate the affected joint.
This means that if you have tendonitis in your elbow, don’t do any weight lifting with that arm, or both arms if both are affected. You can do other exercises below the waist, such as jogging, but nothing that would involve the elbow.
If you are looking for tendonitis of the wrist treatments, as well as how to treat tendonitis in the elbow, this is a good place to start.
How long should you stop exercising? This is a tricky question. You don’t want to stop for too long as that will make the joint stiff and cause the muscles to become weaker, but you don’t want the inflammation to ramp up again.
Wait a minimum of 2 weeks, then start exercising again very gently and stop if you feel any pain. You might want to speak to your chiropractor about an appropriate time frame.
Tennis elbow treatments vary but limiting the inflammation should be your first goal. Inflammation causes pain, so it only makes sense to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Certain foods cause inflammation and others quell that painful devil.
A few of the best anti-inflammatory foods include:
Foods that cause inflammation should be avoided at all costs. These include:
You can also fight inflammation through a variety of supplements, ramp up your immune system, and nourish damaged connective tissue with some of the following supplements:
How to treat tendonitis in the shoulder? Try soaking the affected area in a solution of Epsom salt and warm water will have several effects. First, Epsom salt is not salt but magnesium flakes. Magnesium relaxes muscles and is a well-known anti-inflammatory.
Soaking in warm water will also relax the muscles while improving circulation. Tendons don’t get their fair share when it comes to the body’s blood supply, so bringing improved circulation means fresh oxygen and healing nutrients right where you need it most.
Mix a half cup of apple cider vinegar in an equal part of warm water. Soak a washrag in this solution and place it around the painful area, leaving it on for 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat this three times each day.
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that can reduce pain and swelling.
Mix one teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper and mix it into two or three teaspoons of coconut or olive oil. Massage this mixture into the affected area and leave on for at least 30 minutes. Be careful to wash your hands afterwards and don’t touch your eyes!
The main ingredient in cayenne pepper is a compound called capsaicin. This substance has strong analgesic activity that can reduce inflammation but relieves pain by overstimulating the nerves.
Warm about a tablespoon of castor oil in the microwave or stovetop and massage this gently into the affected area for a minute. Apply a warm compress over the area and leave on for 20 minutes. You can rinse off the oil or leave it on. Repeat this method three times each day.
Your great-grandmother’s cure all, castor oil, contains ricinoleic acid, which has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds that limit inflammation and offer some mild pain relief.
If you would like to shorten the amount of time it takes for tendonitis to heal or if you aren’t sure that tendonitis is the real cause of your pain, don’t hesitate to contact our clinic. Our friendly staff will be happy to check your insurance and answer all your questions. You can also make an appointment online by clicking here.
If you believe this article was helpful, please feel free to pass it on to friends or family members who might also benefit from the information.
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.