Tendinitis occurs when tendons become inflamed, and the associated pain often interferes with everyday activities. Natural treatments have been shown to help alleviate some of the symptoms, and for some, may even lead to a cure.
A lot of conditions are actually, at the root, tendinitis – swimmer's shoulder, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow – and many people experience at least one of them during their lifetime. Repetitive motions, falling, lifting heavy objects, and other activities may cause tendinitis, the University of Massachusetts Medical Center said
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Treatments for tendinitis at a doctor's office include pain medications, sometimes over-the-counter ones like Aleve, Advil, and Motrin, and resting the affected joint and applying ice, The Mayo Clinic said
Should the condition worsen, and especially if there is a tear in the tendon, doctors may recommend cortisone injections and eventually surgery, Mayo said.
One note of caution: Research in the past 10 years has identified that many cases of tendinitis are actually tendinosis, which is not caused by the inflammatory process, a study on the National Institutes of Health website reported
. This is significant because if your condition is tendinosis, which is a "degeneration of the tendon's collagen in response to chronic overuse," the same treatments will not work. Consult a physician about the difference in these two conditions.
But before taking those steps, there are natural treatments that have been shown to help tendinitis. Here are four that you may want to consider or consult about with your physician:
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These can help stretch the affected muscles and tendons. "For instance, eccentric strengthening — which emphasizes contraction of a muscle while it's lengthening — has been shown to be effective in treating chronic tendon inflammation," Mayo said, recommending that patients consult a physical therapist about what will work for their particular situation.
This acronym is used by Mayo to highlight treatments for tendinitis at home. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression (wrapping with a bandage), and Elevation.
According to UMMC, this enzyme from pineapples has been shown to reduce inflammation. However, take it with caution if you are on blood thinners or have stomach ulcers because it can cause complications. Check with your doctor's office.
Turmeric, willow bark, and licorice have been shown to have properties that reduce inflammation and/or relieve pain and may help in the treatment of tendinitis, UMMC said. Turmeric is sometimes combined with bromelain to strengthen its effect. Again, though, all can cause complications with certain medications.
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