What is Tendonitis?
Tendonitis, also known as tendinitis, is a painful condition that affects your muscles and tendons. In medical language, words that contain “itis” at the end of the named condition always implies inflammation. Tendinitis is no exception. Tendons connect muscles to bone and can become irritated and inflamed when exposed to the kinds of repetitive stress that are found in work and sports. Common activities that cause tendinitis include keyboarding, tennis, throwing sports, meat cutting and playing musical instruments.
Tendinitis is no joke and should not be taken lightly. Common conditions that include inflammation of the tendons include tennis elbow, Achilles tendon inflammation, patellar tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and plantar fasciitis. Each of these conditions can cause pain and disability if left untreated.
When tendons become inflamed they form small pieces of scar tissue that are called adhesions. These adhesions begin to attach the tendons to nearby muscles, fascia, and other tendons. When you contract a muscle to move a joint the tendons have to be able easily to slide past these surrounding tissues. Adhesions prevent smooth movement and cause more irritation. In turn, this process causes more inflammation and more scar tissue. Tendinitis thus becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. As scar tissue builds around the tendon so does pain and disability. Because inflammation is directly linked to pain, as inflammatory products accumulate around the affected tendons your pain level increases.
Treatment for tendinitis begins with eliminating or at least controlling the amount of time that you spend aggravating the affected muscle and tendon. Just like any other condition that causes inflammation, use of ice packs frequently throughout the day will help reduce your pain and clear the inflammation. In my chiropractic clinic, we use various therapies such as electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, chiropractic adjustments and myofascial release techniques to improve the function of the joint, break adhesions and reduce inflammation. Treatment is very successful when started early on and when done with consistency.
The most common condition that we see in our office that includes tendonitis as a contributing factor is carpal tunnel syndrome.