Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon, the fibrous structure that connects muscle to bone. Usually, tendonitis stems from injury or overuse, and it most commonly occurs in the shoulder, wrist, heel (Achilles tendon) and elbow. The principal symptoms are pain and tenderness that are aggravated by movement of the affected area.
Rest can speed recovery, and you can relieve pain and reduce the inflammation somewhat by applying heat or cold to the affected area. The conventional treatments for this condition is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and, if necessary, steroid injections into the tendon sheath. NSAIDs can he hard on your stomach, and I would avoid steroid shots if possible due to the increase percentage in having a possible tendon rupture.
Here are some alternatives that can help:
- DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide): Made from wood pulp, this chemical penetrates the skin and promotes healing. You can buy it at a health food store. Paint a 70 percent solution of DMSA on the sore area with cotton and let it dry. You may feel warmth or stinging, and experience a garlicky taste in your mouth. Try it three times a day for three days. If there is no improvement, stop using it. If you do feel some improvement, apply DMSO twice a day for three more days, then once a day for the final three days. (You can only find more concentrated products, diilute them by adding distilled water.)
- Acupuncture: A good treatment. Look for a practitioner with experience in treating tendonitis.
- A mixture of natural anti-inflammatory herbs, including ginger and tumeric. Follow dosage directions on the product.
- Homeopathic remedies: Ruta or Rhus Tox at a potency of 6c to 30c, available in health food stores, is the treatment most often recommended. Stop treatment when symptoms are clearly improving, but you can start again if improvement plateaus or symptoms worsen again. Be cautious of using this remedy chronically without the supervision of a qualified homeopathic practitioner.
To prevent further bouts of tendonitis, be sure to avoid whatever movement or stress may have caused the problem. If the problem results from exercise, I recommend consulting a physical therapist to learn how to strengthen the affected muscle and area around it.