Even though all health professionals realize that the most common cause of tendinitis is muscle over-use and/or abuse, few have concentrated sufficient and proper rehabilitative effort on the involved muscles. Also, the treatment of tendinitis in all areas of the body is fundamentally the same. Yes, the exercises vary, but the basic treatment principal is the same!
Unfortunately, there is no one single pill, potion, lotion or procedure that will cure tendinitis. Little has changed in the past 20 years regarding the treatment of tendonitis. Medical treatment is essentially the same: pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs; although, the FDA has recently approved an instrument that delivers shock waves to the tendons. This causes microscopic damage to the tendon, which is supposed to form new blood vessels and, as a result, new cells supposedly form healthy tissue.
Physical therapy remains about the same. The “no pain, no gain” motto still seems to be very much in vogue; “encouraging” the patient to do muscle work exercises (the activity that initiated the tendinitis in the beginning) is still being done. Application of heat to the tendons (a definite no-no), even if alternating with cold, is still popular with physical therapists. Acupuncturists are still trying but, for the most part, not succeeding.
Chiropractic is very successful in about 10-20 percent of those tendonitis cases seen. Nevertheless, these are marvelous results when compared to other health professions. And, when all else fails—operate! (We don’t recommend surgery unless the tendon is ruptured, or noticeably torn.)
If there is no single pill, potion, lotion, or procedure that cures tendinitis, WHAT DOES? Unlocking the answer to tendinitis is like unlocking a combination lock. You need all the correct numbers dialed correctly before the lock opens. Similarly, we need all of the elements that help tendinitis combined into a treatment program that will deliver lasting results to almost all cases.
Procedures to Follow
Step 1—Place a small (1″ x 3″) freezable gel pack directly on the involved tendon twice each day for 10 minutes. Re-freeze. Keep cold away from the muscles.
Step 2—Apply heat on belly of involved muscle, once each day for 20-25 minutes. Keep heat away from tendons!
Do not use heat and cold at the same exact time. This sends conflicting messages to the brain.
Step 3—Take “Tendon E’s” (a supplement that contains several natural anti-inflammatories and one natural muscle relaxant).
Step 4—Perform recommended stretching exercises twice each day. Do what is possible, without forcing, although some “pulling” should be felt. Over time, always work toward more stretch.
Following is a demonstration of two of eight stretching exercises that are effective for the shoulder and elbow areas.
Imagine the patient’s head at 12 o’clock with the feet at 6 o’clock. With the arm down at the patient’s side, slowly move the arm “around the clock” four times clock-wise, then four times counter clock-wise. Additionally, the patient again starts with the arm down at the side and begins to twist the entire arm briskly clock-wise then counter clock-wise while, at the same time, moving the arm slowly “around the clock” four times in each direction, as before.
The end result of stretching is relaxation of the muscles and tendons. It also restores some elasticity to the muscles and tendons. This, in time, leads to great relief of the symptoms of tendinitis.
Continue stretching exercises after the patient is well. This facilitates continued tendon health.
Step 5—Perform opposing muscle-work exercises when possible. Contraction of opposing muscles facilitates relaxation of the involved muscles, with a very desirable effect.
Step 6—Apply a large vibrator (4″ x 9″ applicator pad) on the tendon and involved muscles for 5-10 minutes once each day. I don’t believe this can be over-done, but 15 minutes should be the maximum.
Step 7—Perform transverse friction massage twice each week (rub hard across tendon).
Step 8—Rest the tendons for one to two weeks, if possible.
Two Very Important Points
1. The health professional must make sure the patients perform all of the proper procedures to attain optimum results. If they compromise the program, they will compromise the results. Therefore, the health professional must check to make sure, at the three-week level, that the patient is performing everything properly.
2. Bear in mind during the treatment period that the true root of the tendinitis problem is in the muscles. The tendons are actually innocent victims of muscle over-use or abuse.
Why would a chiropractor bother? Because there are at least 400,000 cases of tendinitis being seen each month by all health professionals nationally. Notice, I said, “being seen,” not “being cured.” As a result, many patients are desperate for help. Between my method as well as what you can do chiropractically, you can achieve nearly 100 percent great and lasting results with tendinitis. No one else in the world can do that. You can accomplish, in your office, the same great results.
Edward Holtman, D.C., practiced chiropractic for 48 years in Hartford, WI. He has written many published tendonitis articles, among them, “It’s Time to Help Your Patients Say Goodbye to Tendinitis, because No One Else Is”; “Why Let Tendinitis Stop You?”; and “Do Something Good for the Muscles and You Will Be Doing Something Good for the Tendons”.