Tendonitis goes by many names. You’ve probably heard it called tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, swimmer’s shoulder or jumper’s knee. Despite what these names may indicate, you don’t need to be a serious athlete to develop tendonitis. In fact, anything that causes irritation to the tendons around your elbows, shoulders or legs can lead to tendonitis, including the inevitable wear and tear of aging. Learn what you can do to treat the condition gently and prevent this diagnosis in the future.
What Causes Tendonitis
Tendons are fibrous cords that join muscle to bone. Tendons make possible the many movements performed by joints, like the shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. Layers of tissue surround and protect the tendons, but they are susceptible to damage and deterioration. When this occurs, the tendons may develop small tears, inflammation and sensitivity. The symptoms you will experience include, pain, soreness and sometimes swelling around the affected area.
Playing sports, from casual golfing to competitive track and field, often triggers tendonitis. Repetitive motions coupled with over use are a formula for damaged tissue and tendons. If you perform a physically demanding job, you may also be at risk. In many cases, poor technique triggers damage. If you feel soreness during a routine activity or sport, stop and rest until it subsides. You can avoid over use by paying attention to your body’s cues before any major damage occurs.
Treating Tendonitis Naturally
If you have the characteristic swelling and pain caused by tendonitis, your first goal is to rest the joint. Try not to perform the trigger activity for a few days. Continue with other daily activities but be aware of placing any type of stress on your sore tendon.
Slowly return to exercising the joint’s full range of motion after a few days of rest to prevent stiffness. To minimize the initial swelling, compress the area with a wrap or ace bandage. Regularly icing the affected area will help too, and it will reduce pain. Apply ice packs for up to 20 minutes three times daily as long as soreness persists. If you have tendonitis in your leg, elevating your foot is above your heart will also reduce swelling.
Natural supplements with joint-nourishing ingredients can also aid in the healing process. Here are a few very effective tendonitis relievers that you should consider:
• Omega-3 fatty acids are potent inflammation fighters and provide lubrication.
• MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is biologically active sulfur that can comfort the joints and enhance the flexibility of cell walls for better healing.
• Glucosamine is very powerful at helping to repair damaged cartilage.
• Boswellia serrate is an herb used in India to naturally fight inflammation and promote healthier joints.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills like ibuprofen are often recommended for the pain of tendonitis. However, natural options exist as well. DMSO, or dimethyl sulfoxide, is a chemical made from wood pulp that encourages healing and is found in health food stores.
Mix about 70% DMSO and 30% water, dab it on the affected area and let it dry. Do this three times a day for three days. If it helps, continue twice a day for 3 more days. If not, move on to a different treatment. Acupuncture has helped relieve tendonitis pain for many patients. An experienced practitioner can cater to your individual needs.
Tendonitis can put a real cramp in your active lifestyle. You can still have fun doing things you love and enjoy the physical benefits of exercise by listening to your body’s signals. Proper technique and regular rest will greatly reduce your risk for developing problems down the road. If you suffer from tendonitis, use my natural methods to help healing, and be patient…you’ll be back in the game before you know it!
Photo Credit: Ambro