Relative to muscles, tendons are weak. When tendons are injured, they heal slowly because of a low blood supply. This is why doctors often refer tendinitis patients to a physiotherapist to help guide the joint into proper motion and prevent a recurrence of the problem. They will use stretching and strengthening exercises to address any muscle imbalances and relieve pressure on the tendons.
Here are some great alternative methods that Chinese practitioners have been known to employ for the treatment of tendinitis:
The ancient therapy of painless needlework holds promise for treating tendonitis. The needles are placed specifically along the pathway where the body’s energy is believed to flow. This will help limit pain, reduce swelling and foster a healing environment for the injured tendon fibers.
There is some scientific backing (Western studies, at that) for this. For instance, one 1999 study found that patients with rotator-cuff tendinitis had much success using acupuncture to treat their pain.
There are several positive studies for using it in tennis elbow. One took 45 patients and compared real acupuncture to “sham acupuncture.” They got treatment two times a day for 10 weeks. Patients taking the real treatment experienced major improvements in pain and in their ability to use their elbows again. The sham treatment did little.
Another study compared the same thing in 82 patients with tennis elbow. The real acupuncture led to greater results in pain and elbow function, although after three months, these results faded.
Another study compared sham to real acupuncture in 44 patients who had tendinitis in the shoulder. They found benefits with the real treatment that lasted beyond three months.
It should be noted that scientists don’t yet know what to think with this treatment. It has shown definitive promise, but to really gauge its effect, a study will have to be done comparing acupuncture to conventional medicine.
For supplements, these may be your best options. Easily digestible, the digestive enzymes are well absorbed and have none of the aspirin-related stomach distress. They can lessen inflammation and reduce pain.
The biggest one is “bromelain,” which has excellent anti-inflammatory abilities. One study found that when tendinitis patients were given bromelain in addition to conventional therapy, their symptoms improved dramatically in swelling, tenderness and pain at rest and while moving.
The other potential treatment is “pancreatin,” which is thought to help with tendon pain. Take it with food, and follow directions on the label.
Staying fit will help prevent tendinitis. If you want to build up resistance to it, slowly increase the intensity of your workout. Do different activities so that no one in particular puts undue stress on a joint. Keep steadily exercising: pick a number of days a week and stick to it.
Those who get hit with tendinitis are often those who exercise on and off or who focus too much on one activity. If something is aggravating symptoms of tendinitis, do another activity, but don’t stop exercising altogether.
If you are experiencing tendinitis pain, help yourself by exercising. Don’t keep using the same motion or overusing the area in which you just suffered tendinitis. Try warming up, loosening up your muscles and tendons before both working or engaging in activity. Strong and flexible muscles will help keep tendons from tearing. That’s because the muscles and tendons are really one unit, and they both absorb any force that comes their way.
One is called “deep transverse friction massage,” which is performed by a professional masseuse. It’s shown promise in treating tendonitis.
Also, a gel made of “DMSO” is a potential treatment. One study found that it was suitable for use on the skin, with little risk to the patient. They found that nearly half of patients with acute tendon pain found relief with DMSO compared to just nine percent of placebo patients.
The supplements “glucosamine” and “chondroitin” are very popular and effective for osteoarthritis. They keep cartilage strong, and it’s the same effect, which makes them strong candidates for treating and preventing tendinitis.
Same goes for the amino acids “glycine,” “lysine” and “proline,” which are all known to help heal tendons. They are known to help the muscle and connective tissue recover from injury. They are found in foods and in supplements.