Tendonitis is also known as (Scientific Binomial Name), Tendinitis (Common English), (Unani), Taindonitis (Hindi / Urdu), Tacainan alarci (Tamil), Tendonitis (Marathi), (Sanskrit), Purano inajurira (Bengali), Snayuvu (Telugu), Tendonitis (Kannada), Tendonitis (Malayalam), Jijian yan (Chinese), Tendinitis (Spanish), Tendinite (Portuguese), Tendinit (Russian). Flare ups of tendinitis and bursitis have been called a lot of different names. Tennis elbow, for instance, is one of the most common forms of tendinitis. What’s called heel pain may actually be caused by bursitis, tendinitis, or both. Rotator cuff pain in the shoulder is a common complaint among pitchers which is also related to bursitis and tendinitis. Tendinitis is an inflammation and thickening of the tendons, usually caused by an injury or overuse of the muscles. There is some association with bursitis, and indeed the diagnosis is often difficult to make. Bursitis is characterized by a dull pain, whereas the pain of tendinitis is sharp. Tendinitis is inflammation of the tendons, the tough cords that attach muscles to bones. Where as bursitis is inflammation of the bursae. Bursae is a tiny, fluid filled sacs that provide cushioning where muscle touches bone or rubs up against another muscle.
Symptoms of Tendinitis
Sharp pain and limited movement in the affected area with swelling. Pins and needles and numbness. Where bursitis often feels like a dull ache at a joint, tendinitis tends to produce sharp pain. These conditions crop up most often in the shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, and ankles. The two terms (bursitis and tendinitis) are often used interchangeably because the bursae are located near tendon-bone connections, and both conditions cause pain in and around the joints. Bursitis and tendinitis also have the same cause that is overuse of a particular joint. These kinds of problems show up as a result of sports, as in tennis elbow, and in jobs that require repetitive movement, such as carpentry and butchering. Whatever you call them, though, bursitis and tendinitis really hurt. And interestingly enough, they both respond to the same kinds of treatments.
Causes of Tendonitis
In strenuous sports and athletic activities such as running or jumping, a person can pull a muscle and cause inflammation of the tendon, leading to tendinitis or bursitis. This condition can also result from a non strenuous activity repeated often enough to become stressful. An example is carpal tunnel syndrome, the result of working for hours a day at a repetitive task such as typing at a computer keyboard. These somewhat related conditions are often the price you pay for too much repeated motion, whether something fun like playing tennis, or not so fun, like shoveling snow.
Home Remedies for Bursitis and Tendonitis
Physicians generally treat bursitis, tendinitis and related problems with rest and medications that relieve pain and reduce inflammation – aspirin and other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. Resting a joint that has been affected by tendinitis or bursitis is a great idea. Ice packs might also help control the pain and inflammation. But don’t count on an ice pack to provide complete relief. And while taking aspirin and related drugs is fine, you should be aware that there are also a number of natural alternatives. Here are some of them.
- Take Rest: Take a break before you repeat the activity that triggered the pain. Be patient, since the problem may take a few weeks to resolve. To hold down swelling, wrap an elastic bandage around the joint – but not too snugly. Then elevate the joint above the level of your heart. If it’s your elbow that hurts, keep it on a high armrest, or sit in a low chair with your elbow propped up on the table. If you’re treating your knee, lie on your back with the knee propped up on pillows.
- Cold Compress for Mild Conditions: Ice your sore joint to ease pain and inflammation. At the site of tendinitis, apply a cold compress such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables. That will minimize the inflammation. OR Wrap up an ice pack in a towel and apply it for 10 to 20 minutes every four hours. Or freeze a paper cup full of ice, tear off the top edge, and rub the ice where it hurts. Repeat three or four times a day, allowing two to five minutes for each treatment.
- Heat Compress: After about three days of giving joints the cold treatment – or until the joint is no longer warm to the touch – start alternating cold with heat. Heat increases blood flow to the injury, helping it to heal faster. Use a microwavable heat pack or an electric heating pad. OR for form fitting warmth, place two to three cups of rice in a large sock, tie off the sock, and microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. The rice will conform nicely to a knee, elbow, or ankle. For both acute tendinitis, where there is much pain, and chronic tendinitis, apply soothing heat, such as a liniment (a penetrating, heating ointment) or a warm water compress. Wet or damp heat is effective to minimize the pain or inflammation.
- Willow (Salix species) as Pain Reliever: Willow bark is herbal aspirin. So are meadow sweet and wintergreen. They all contain salicylates, natural precursors of aspirin. To make a tea add one to two teaspoons of dried herb per cup of water and boiling it for about 20 minutes. Have a cup two or three times a day. Or try a teaspoon of tincture of any of these herbs three times a day. If you’re allergic to aspirin, avoid taking aspirin like herbs.
- Turmeric – An Indian Spice: Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, an Indian spice that’s a key ingredient in curry. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and can be used externally, or taken internally, three times daily, between meals. While turmeric has a venerable reputation as an anti inflammatory and pain-relieving agent, it seems to be curcumin that does the real work – inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are hormone like compounds in the body involved in transmission of pain signals. Take 400 to 500 milligrams of the extract three times a day.
- Cool Healing Paste: Make a paste of sandalwood and turmeric powder in equal amounts. Mix the powders in enough cold water to form a paste, and apply it on the painful area. OR A paste of salt and turmeric will also be effective.
- Soothe Aching with Arnica: To soothe the aching area, rub on arnica cream or ointment – a remedy derived from the mountain daisy – two or three times a day. Also popular for treating bruises and sprains, arnica reduces swelling and inflammation. For even greater relief, press a hot-water bottle or heating pad against the joint after you’ve applied the arnica.
- Vinegar for Inflammation: Vinegar applied topically, also eases aches. Apply a vinegar compress to reduce areas of inflammation. Soak a cloth or dishtowel in equal parts hot water and vinegar. Wring it out and apply.
- Apply a poultice of slippery elm and cayenne to the affected joints.
- Tiger Balm, a menthol – laced cream imported from China, can melt away pain. Rub it on the sore spot once or twice a day. But test a small patch of skin first. This is hot stuff, and some people develop a rash or redness if they use it too often.
- Consider black cherry juice, an old-time folk remedy. It contains an antioxidant plant pigment called quercetin, which works as an anti-inflammatory. Quaff 16 ounces a day, and there’s a good chance your pain will dissipate.
- Mustard Plaster Folk Remedy: Try grandma’s old-fashioned mustard plaster. A simple plaster still used by some farm folks in rural Indiana and by hillbillies in Kentucky, involves mashing the leaves and stems of fresh mustard plant into a pulp. The surface of the skin is then coated with Crisco lard or Vaseline before the pulp is applied and bound in place with some gauze and adhesive tape. By coating the skin with petroleum jelly, it prevents the mustard from causing serious blisters or raising welts on it. This plaster can be kept on for several hours or else left on overnight for best results. This plaster is also helpful for sciatica, neuralgia, gout, bumps, bruises, sprains, eruptive sores and boils.
- Gentle Stretching To Reduce Pain: Careful, gentle stretching of the affected muscles will gradually help to improve circulation and heal the pain and inflammation.
- Reduce Swelling with Plantain: Wrap a bruised wet plantain leaf around the affected area to reduce swelling and stiffness, and to encourage healing.
- Ginger Supplements for Tendonitis Treatment: Ginger has a long folk history in Asia as a bursitis treatment. Use a soothing ginger compress to help stop the hurt from the outside in. Chop two tablespoons of fresh ginger, drop it in three cups of hot water, and let it steep for 20 minutes. Immerse a folded piece of cloth in the warm tea and wring it out. Lay the cloth over your sore joint for five minutes. Repeat three or four times a day. Ginger isn’t just for compresses. Supplements of this natural anti-inflammatory can also help. For acute pain, take six 500-milligram capsules a day.
- Anti-inflammatory Ayurvedic Herbs: Taking some anti-inflammatory herbs will accelerate healing. Mix together kaishore guggulu, manjistha, musta, and guduchi to form a mixture take kaishore guggulu, manjistha and musta – all equal quantity that is 2 parts and guduchi 3 parts. Take 1/4 teaspoon of this mixture 2 or 3 times a day with warm water after meals.
- Licorice with No Side Effects: Licorice can be every bit as effective a treatment for bursitis and tendinitis as the commonly prescribed drug hydrocortisone. Plus, the herb has none of the usual side effects, such as weight gain, indigestion, insomnia and lowered resistance to infection, that are associated with cortisone and hydrocortisone. This herb is worth trying, as licorice and its extracts are safe for normal use in moderate amounts.
- Daffodils for Tendonitis: Put several chopped daffodil bulbs in a blender to puree. Then remove and mix with a little honey to form a rather stiff and sticky paste. Apply liberally to tendonitis, twisted ankle, dislocated shoulder, sprained elbow or injured kneecap for incredible relief from excruciating pain and soreness.
- Echinacea to Cure Tenderness: This herb, also called cone-flower, is good for connective tissue injuries such as tennis elbow, skier’s knee and jogger’s ankle. All of these injuries are, in fact, types of tendinitis. Take up to a half ounce of echinacea tincture daily until the swelling and pain are reduced. That’s a lot of tincture, but echinacea is not hazardous (although it may cause your tongue to tingle or become numb), so it’s probably worth a try.
- Oil Massage For Painful Tendons: Gently massage the affected area with mahanarayan oil, and then soak it in warm water.
- Homemade Leaf Poultice: A very useful application of the leaves of pumpkin, squash or gourd may be found in the treatment of tendonitis, sprains, bruises, and torn ligaments. First apply some special chamomile cream gently on the injured areas. Pick some fresh leaves and pound with hammer or small round stones. Bind this leaves poultice on affected area and keep it for several hours for good results. This take the swelling down quite a bit and seem to hasten the healing process when other internal remedies for inflammation are used.
- Pineapple Remedy: This tasty fruit contains enzymes that break down protein. One of these enzymes, bromelain, is particularly important because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain, an enzyme from pineapple, reduces inflammation and helpful for acute cases of tendonitis. Some folk healers suggest that, “Sometimes just a day of eating nothing but raw pineapple will clear it up”. Take a whole-foods approach whenever possible. I think that generally, whole foods have more healing power going for them than any individual ingredients that have been isolated from them. Pineapple reduces swelling, bruising and pain and speeds the healing of joint and tendon injuries. Many athletes believe that pineapple helps heal sprains and tendinitis. Some eat lots of pineapple before and after strenuous workouts to help protect their tendons, as tendinitis is a major problem for them. It probably can’t hurt to add fresh pineapple and pineapple juice to your menu while you’re getting over an episode of tendinitis or bursitis. Papaya contains enzymes similar to those in pineapple, so you might want to add some of this fresh fruit to your menu as well.
- Horsetail for Cartilage and Connective Tissues: Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) herb is one of Nature’s richest sources of the element silicon, and some say that it is in a form that is especially easy for your body to use. A number of studies show that silicon plays an important role in the health and resilience of both cartilage and connective tissues such as tendons – cartilage forms a significant portion of joints. Although you should not use this herb without the guidance of a holistic practitioner. If you’re advised to take this herb, you can make a tea by putting five teaspoons of dried horsetail, one teaspoon of sugar and one quart of water in a pot. The sugar will pull more silicon out of the plant. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about three hours. Strain the tea and let it cool before drinking it.
Tips to Prevent Tendinitis Pain
- Start a strength training program using light weights to improve the muscles around the injured joint.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin C, beta carotene, zinc, selenium, vitamin E nutrients in the diet can help encourage healing of the soft tissues. Manganese helps the body clear away the waste products from inflammation related to bursitis or tendinitis. Try making salad with fresh purslane, green beans, spinach, lettuce and some poppy seeds into the dressing, as they all are rich source of magnesium. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation. Increase the amounts in your diet by eating more cold-water fish, such as salmon, bluefin tuna, and mackerel. And consider taking supplemental flaxseed oil, which is rich in these “good” fats. Intake plants high in silicon include barley, chickweed, cucumbers, parsley, stinging nettle, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, string beans and turnips.
- Avoid going to sleep with your arm bent over your head.
- Be sure to interrupt long, repetitive chores with regular stretch breaks. If you’re a tennis player, avoid tennis elbow by making sure your racket has a large-handled grip and decreased string tension. Also, tennis elbow can develop if the racket head is too big or too small. Have the grip, tension, and racket size checked by a tennis instructor.
- If you’re going to be on your knees scrubbing the floor or pulling weeds, kneel on a foam rubber pad designed for this purpose.
- If the problem gets worse after three or four days, or interferes with your daily activities, see your doctor. Also seek treatment if your joint is warm, red, and tender. These are signs of septic bursitis, a type of infection that can spread from one joint throughout your body.