Massage Therapy for Tendinitis
Tendinitis is the body’s way of letting you know that you are overworking a particular muscle and joint. The RICE treatment (rest; ice; compression; elevation) is often recommended to alleviate the acute injury pain. Massage therapy has also been used to relieve pain associated with tendinitis and provides several other benefits that improve overall function.
What Is Tendinitis?
The tendons are the tissues attaching muscles to bones and are involved in every movement. Tendons may become inflamed from over-activity, repetitive motion, and traumatic injuries. This inflammation of tendon is known as tendinitis.
Acute tendinitis is a sharp pain that might prevent you from moving the joint. The pain eventually goes away, but tends to returns if the joint is not rested. Acute tendinitis can develop into chronic (long-term) tendinitis – a dull but persistent soreness that worsens with initial movements, and then eases as muscles warm up.
Acute tendinitis pain usually clears up in about one month with proper rest and treatment. However, it can lead to chronic tendinitis especially in cases when patients did not follow adequate rest and continued their activities that caused the tendinitis.
Joints commonly affected by tendinitis are the shoulder (e.g., rotator cuff tendinitis), elbow (e.g., tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow), wrist and thumb, hip, knee (e.g., jumper’s knee, runner’s knee), and lower calf or ankle (e.g., Achilles tendinitis). People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disorders may develop calcific tendinitis, a condition where calcium deposits buildup in joints which can be very painful.
What Causes Tendinitis?
- repetitive strain or overuse injury often associated with certain occupations or sports (baseball, golf and tennis for example)
- an inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- an excessive muscle stretch or acute injury
How Massage Therapy Helps To Relieve Tendinitis
The aim of treatments for tendinitis is healing the injured tendon. The initial actions to be taken are restricted activity, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, elevation, compression, and splinting. A massage for tendinitis may not be recommended during the acute stage (usually within the first 48 hours after the onset) neither should it be administered when the affected tissues are visibly inflamed or swollen.
When done at the appropriate time, the massage promotes healing by
- relieving excessive tension in the connective tissue and muscles
- preventing buildup of scar tissue
- helping to reduce inflammation
- improving flexibility and endurance
- reducing fatigue
- helping to prevent injury
A massage technique called transverse friction is often incorporated in order to address the adhesion around the affected tendon. The treated area requires application of ice after the massage.
An experienced, professional massage therapist can address specific tendinitis issues with customized massage techniques, and you can rest assured that the benefits of the massage will go way beyond temporal pain relief.