Tendinitis - A Soothing, Natural Cure
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 68,323 people had been diagnosed with tendinitis in the year of 2000. That number is likely higher, since not everyone gets a formal diagnosis. Instead, they opt to treat it themselves.
Tendinitis is the result of a buildup of tiny injuries to the cells of the tendon. We don’t notice these micro injuries until we feel pain. If left unchecked, tendinitis can lead to outright rupture. That involves surgery and a subsequent very long recovery time.
A trip to the doctor will more than likely result in a suggestion to rest, a brace and meds. Fortunately, there are natural inflammation remedies available and steps you can take to treat tendinitis.
The first two steps are always the right way to go for inflammation relief.
- REST. Take it easy for a while. Let the pain fade to a more bearable level before becoming active again.
- Ice. Ice, ice, ice. This brings down inflammation. The old adage of 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off works very well. When using an icepack without a fabric covering, always wrap it with a light towel before applying. The cold can cause skin damage if the plastic is applied directly.
Proper Body Mechanics
One of the most important aspects of treating tendinitis involves ergonomics. Put simply, ergonomics the study of how to best interact with our surroundings on a physical level. This is a huge issue in the workplace, because that is where most repetitive motion injuries occur.
Most computer keyboards aren’t well suited to natural wrist and hand positioning. The straight alignment of the keys forces the wrists to constantly bend at an unnatural angle, placing extra stress on the tendons and other vessels in the hands and wrists.
Ergonomic keyboards with split keypads work marvelously to naturalize hand positioning. They take a little getting used to, but they take the pain away and keep it from returning.
Using the proper mouse or track-ball is very important as well. Many cases of tendinitis happen in the hand with which the mouse is used. This is because the clicking and repetitive movement can cause extra stress on that wrist, elbow and shoulder.
In addition to the keyboard and mouse, posture is immensely important. Much as you may have protested your elders when they told you to stand up straight, they had a point.
When sitting at your desk, your feet should be flat on the ground and your thighs parallel with the floor. Your chair should allow you to sit up straight without discomfort. Finally, be sure your screen is positioned at the correct level. It should be just a bit under eye level and placed to avoid glare.
These measures will help lessen or eliminate any existing tendinitis in your wrists and arms, but they can also prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. This syndrome is very common with office workers, and results when the pressure is put in the nerves to the hands when tissues within the wrist swells.
If your pain gets worse, or you start experiencing numbness or a change in the nature of your pain, get to a doctor to be evaluated.
Braces are used to offer support to weak joints, gentle pressure on inflammation and proper alignment to the limb. These come in a wide array of styles. Always use a brace made expressly for the affected joint. Some of them, like many wrist braces, are made specifically for the right or left hand.
When shopping for braces, keep an eye on sizing as well as functionality. A brace should have a snug enough fit to offer comfortable pressure and support but still allow proper circulation. If fingers and toes are getting cold or numb, your brace is too tight. Either adjust the fit or go a size bigger.
Although they’re very awkward to wear at first, you do get used to them after a while. If you take care of yourself, they’ll only be needed during the odd flair up.
A Healthy Diet Matters
A commonly overlooked part of this equation is what you’re putting into your body. There are a number of foods which have been known to contribute to inflammatory disorders.
Three things to cut down for inflammation relief are red meat, deep fried anything, dairy with high fat content and refined sugar. Our bodies can’t digest these as easily as more natural, whole foods. If we load up too much on these, the toxins tend to congest our system. Tendinitis and other inflammatory problems are the end result.
A debated problem is in the use of nightshade vegetables. There’s a growing school of thought that veggies like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes contribute to inflammation. There might be something behind that, as veggies in this family contain trace amounts of nicotine. This is the same one found in tobacco, which is also inflammatory.
Of course, it’s a good idea to either avoid or cut back on alcohol.
Reducing or eliminating these things in your diet can help ease symptoms. Be careful to research alternatives, since all of these have beneficial properties to counter the negative. Look up nutritional levels of nutrients in different foods, or consult a dietician. Great anti-inflammatory foods include pineapple, spinach, carrots and blueberries.
Once the initial pain and inflammation has gone down, it’s wise to look into different exercises to strengthen the muscle and its tendons.
Two favorites are yoga and Pilates. These are both excellent because you can go at your own pace, do them at home, and they’re very low impact.
The key is not to work to the point of pain. Although when you’re working on building muscle mass, soreness shows that you’re making progress, pain when you’re treating tendinitis is just worsening the problem.
If your tendinitis is severe enough, your doctor might suggest you see an occupational therapist for help in building muscle safely.
Many essential oils are great natural anti-inflammation. Because they're so concentrated, never use most of them directly on their skin. Instead, mix with a carrier oil before applying to your compress or skin.Olive, coconut, grape seed and almond oil are all good candidates.
Before going this route, however, do research specific oils, recipes or talk to a therapeutic professional. Aromatherapists, massage therapists and herbalists may be of the most help in this area.
You can also use oils when making a cool compress during the flair up, and a warm bath, once some of the inflammation has gone down. The compress will bring the swelling down, and the bath will relax hyper tense muscles.
Some popular oils for this use are lemongrass, peppermint, lavender, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus.
Though common, and quite painful, tendinitis is also highly treatable. The best therapy, however, is prevention. Be gentle with yourself, watch how you use your body and maintain your health for a fruitful life.