Aug 052015
 

tendonitisIf you have tendonitis, there are a number of remedies to try. You should consult your doctor before doing anything.

1. Rest

Sadly, your best remedy is rest.  Avoid using your arms any more than needed and be careful how you use them when you do. Behavior modification is crucial to recovery.  If you keep doing what you were before the injury, it will only get worse.

2. Physical Therapy

A physical therapist (PT) is one of your best options, but you need to find one who understands how to treat tendonitis, as not all of them do.  Try to avoid being assigned to a PT assistant, as they are unlikely to have the specialized skills you need.

3. Stretching

A PT can also give you appropriate stretching exercises to improve the lost range of motion that often comes with the injury.  You have to be careful to do them right or they’ll be counterproductive.

4. Heat

Heat via a heating pad can increase the blood flow and therefore oxygen to your damaged muscles, helping them heal.  Talk with a doctor or therapist to learn the proper placement for the heat.

5. Ultrasound

Just like what is done for pregnant women, an ultrasound treatment can spread warmth deep into affected muscles. This is typically administered by a physical therapist.

6. E-stim

A physical therapist can do electric stimulation to the affected muscles by placing the pads that emit current at two different point on your arms.  This feels weird at first but you get used to it.

7. Ice

Ice will lessen the inflammation of the tendons. Consult your doctor or physical therapist to learn where to place the ice and for how long.

8. Arm bands

If your tendonitis is in your arms, there are various arm bands you can wear. Some will restrict your wrist motion.  Other will compress your muscles to reduce pain and injury while using your arms.  I used very thick ones while sleeping to keep me from lying on my arms overnight, since that compressed my tendons and inflamed my arms.

9. Anti-inflammatories

Over the counter anti-inflammatories can help the tendon recover, but you have to be careful not to overdo this or you’ll risk damage to your organs.  A doctor can prescribe stronger ones for short duration, especially at the outset of your injury.

10. Topical Gel

There are topical gels that reduce the pain you feel but which might not help you recover.  Ask your PT or doctor to recommend one.  Some of these stink quite a bit, so be prepared for friends and family to ask you not to put it on right before sitting down with them!

Jul 292015
 

tendonitis2As someone who’s dealt with tendonitis in both arms for almost two decades, I can assure you this injury isn’t something you want.  If you’re not convinced, here are ten reasons you may not have considered.

1. It can ruin your sex life

Your hands can stimulate your partner (or yourself) to great effect – until you can’t do that anymore. Or maybe you can’t do it long enough, having to keep resting, which can kill the arousal buildup your hands were causing.  This means your partner is affected, too.  There are also positions you can no longer do, like missionary (if you’re the guy, on top), because you can’t support your weight like that.

2. You can lose your job

Most jobs need your arms and if you have to stop using them, you might lose your job and everything that goes with it, like insurance and 401k contributions. If you’re covered under someone else’s policy, you have some luck there.

3. It can end your career

If the injury is severe enough, you might never be able to return to your profession after losing your job. This is devastating, particularly if there isn’t another career available to you at first (i.e., you aren’t qualified).  Another career might not be nearly as lucrative, too.

4. It eliminates exercises and might ruin your physique

If you do any sort of weight training, those days may be over. I was a very toned, somewhat muscled young man. I now have only loose muscle on my chest (remnants of a past life).  My shoulders have no muscle at all, my biceps are average, and my triceps are nearly so.  The lack of tone is something I’m used to ignoring in the mirror, but I cover up at the beach, the days of having pride my physique (and the ability to do something about it) long gone.

5. Cavities

Did you know tendonitis can cause cavities? Flossing was too hard for me, causing too much pain, so I stopped for several years.  I developed a multitude of cavities between my teeth.

6. There’s a shortage of knowledgeable medical professionals adept at treating this

The treatment of repetitive stress injuries is in its infancy and finding someone qualified to treat your injury might be a challenge.  Where you live might impact this, too. There’s less information available on what your treatment options are, too. You will have a hard time getting educated.

7. Many hobbies will vanish

Do you play golf, softball, guitar?  Not anymore.

8. Disrespect instead of respect

Despite the injury’s ability to completely destroy your life, tendonitis gets no respect as a serious problem, which means you won’t get any respect either. You can be told to stop being a baby, or stop being lazy, or other obnoxious comments that make it clear people think you’re less of a person now. That includes people you want to date.

9. You can’t pick up lots of things, including your kids

Heavy things are out of the question, but some items leave you little choice, like trash bags, groceries, and wet laundry.  And your kids if you’ve got them and they’re young enough to need a lift.

10. You could be dealing with this the rest of your life

The impact on you will likely lessen in time, but tendonitis can be forever. Some things you’ll never do again, and others might have to wait many years and be altered for the worse, but either way, you’ll be re-considering how to (and if you can) do many things for many years to come.

Jul 222015
 

tendonitisIn August 1996, a severe tendonitis injury (lateral epicondylitis or “tennis elbow”) suddenly appeared in both of my arms. It had been building for up to three years before finally making its presence known. I’ve been dealing with it ever since, along with a second tendonitis injury (this time medial epicondylitis or “golfer’s elbow”), once again to both arms, two years later in September 1998.

The injuries literally destroyed my life.  The list of activities that vanished would’ve covered both wounded arms. It’s easier to say what I still could do: watch TV, read a book, or pace.  And even those caused pain.  That’s why my life had been reduced to, not for days or weeks, but almost a year, and it took years more to get my life back.  I was temporarily crippled.

At some point, I looked up “crippled” to see if that’s what I had become. It’s defined as a permanent, severe disability.  Well, I permanently have tendonitis.  At the time, it was severe.  The question was whether or not it would be permanently severe.  The answer proved to be no, due to extreme rest, physical therapy, and alternative means of living, as I slowly got on with my life (or rather, a very different life), so that’s why I say I was temporarily crippled.

The injury isn’t taken seriously by most people.  I hope to change and help people understand the risk they face if developing it.  The impact can be devastating, as was my case.  Future blogs will delve more into my story and what you can learn from me.

Ten Reasons to Not Get Tendonitis

As someone who’s dealt with tendonitis in both arms for almost two decades, I can assure you this injury isn’t something you want.  If you’re not convinced, here are ten reasons you may not have considered. 1. It can ruin your sex life Your hands can stimulate your partner (or yourself) to great effect – until […]

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Ten Remedies for Tendonitis

If you have tendonitis, there are a number of remedies to try. You should consult your doctor before doing anything. 1. Rest Sadly, your best remedy is rest.  Avoid using your arms any more than needed and be careful how you use them when you do. Behavior modification is crucial to recovery.  If you keep doing what […]

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Why I Blog About Tendonitis

In August 1996, a severe tendonitis injury (lateral epicondylitis or “tennis elbow”) suddenly appeared in both of my arms. It had been building for up to three years before finally making its presence known. I’ve been dealing with it ever since, along with a second tendonitis injury (this time medial epicondylitis or “golfer’s elbow”), once again to both […]

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