Maybe you spent yesterday happily digging in your garden or playing 18 holes. Or perhaps it was volunteering at the bake sale or chasing the grandkids around. But no matter how you had fun, you’re paying the price for it today.
You woke up with shooting pain in your wrist, shoulder, elbow or knee. Your doctor says it is tendonitis. He may have even have suggested an injection of steroids or a course of potent NSAIDs.
But if you’re hoping to avoid powerful drugs, and their side effects, there may be another option. Tendonitis pain can often be relieved without resorting to dangerous drugs.
Tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis) occurs when a tendon around one of your joints becomes irritated from overuse. But as terrible as tendonitis pain can be, when you get right down to it it’s simply inflammation.
And lucky for us researchers have uncovered a number of non-invasive solutions to tackle inflammation and pain.
Drug free tendonitis pain relief
Instead of feeling forced into a painful shot or a risky prescription, try these all-natural solutions for tackling tendonitis pain first:
1. Rest and immobilization:
One of the easiest, and most effective, ways to relieve tendonitis pain is to give the tendon a chance to heal on its own. Depending on where the inflamed tendon is located, this could mean a sling, brace or wrap bandage. A few days of minor inconvenience could be all it takes for you to be pain free.
The ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine practice of acupuncture was helping relieve tendonitis pain long before anyone even knew what tendonitis was. An acupuncture practitioner will insert tiny, painless needles into specific points on your body to erase your pain.
The key is to find a licensed practitioner who has specific training and experience in treating tendonitis. Make a few calls to find someone who meets your needs.
3. Temperature therapy:
Both ice packs and heating pads can help relieve tendonitis pain. But you need to make sure you use them at the right time.
For the first 48 hours after the pain starts, stick to ice. The ice will help reduce the swelling and inflammation, as well as help numb the tendonitis pain. Apply ice packs for 15 to 20 minutes at a time several times a day. But keep in mind you shouldn’t put the ice directly on your skin. Wrap the ice pack in a towel first.
After the first few days have passed, you can start using heat occasionally. The warmth from a heating pad will increase blood flow to the injured area to help promote healing. And the heat helps to relax the muscles surrounding the tendon providing pain relief.
But just like with the ice you should protect your skin with a towel, and only use the heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Some folks find alternating heat and ice works well at this point in their recovery.
There are bunches of herbs and supplements that fight inflammation and could help relieve your tendonitis pain. But we’ll touch on just two of our favorites today: ginseng and turmeric.
Both ginseng and turmeric have powerful, proven anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, they work even better in combination. You can find both in supplement form, or try brewing up some ginseng or turmeric tea instead. (Click here for a recipe for delicious Ginger and Turmeric Tea.)
Also, consider collagen supplements, or foods high in collagen, while you’re healing. Your tendons are made of collagen, so giving them the building blocks they need will help speed up recovery.
5. Omega- 3 fatty acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids are natural inflammation fighters. Which makes them a great choice when you’re fighting tendonitis.
But experts say soothing inflammation isn’t the only way they can help relieve tendonitis pain. Omega-3s can also reduce the muscle tension that makes tendonitis worse, and slows the healing process.
To raise your omega-3 levels through your diet you can eat more wild-caught fatty fish (such as sardines, tuna and salmon), avocado, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. Or try a cod-liver oil or fish oil supplement instead.
6. Physical therapy:
Before saying okay to a shot, or popping some powerful prescription pain relievers, ask your doctor if he could write you a referral to a physical therapist. A trained physical therapist can teach you how to stretch and strengthen the affected tendon. This can lead to faster healing. Plus it has the added bonus of making you far less likely to reinjure yourself.
Tendonitis pain can put a real cramp in your routine. But that doesn’t mean you have to resort to drastic measures like drugs to get some relief. Give your body what it needs to heal itself naturally, and you’ll be back in the swing of things in no time.