Written by Cliff Morgan
I was sitting in my lawn chair on Father’s Day 2012 while my wife was up on the ladder cleaning the gutters of our two story house. After raising my arm several times to point to the spots she had overlooked, I noticed my shoulder felt tired. In fact, the repetitive motion (she missed a lot of spots) resulted in shoulder pain each time I raised my arm. “Well this is just great,” I mumbled to myself. I was scheduled to play a baseball game the next day and now I have a sore shoulder from helping my wife on Father’s Day.
That evening while my wife was rubbing my painful shoulder, she noticed it was warm and appeared to be inflamed. I immediately called andscheduled an appointment with my doctor, who diagnosed my condition as tendinitis.
Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. In some instances, adhesions may also develop between the tendon and the sheath. This condition is called tenosynovitis. As a Medical Massage Therapist, I’ve treated tendinitis and tenosynovitis many times. My approach is two-fold:
- Treat the inflammation
- Stimulate collagen production.
To treat tendinitis inflammation, I tell my clients to Rest and Ice. Don’t do anything that causes pain in the area for 72 hours. During that time, apply cold therapy 3 or 4 times a day. Stretch the area very lightly. Stop the stretch as soon as you feel pain. Massage: Thoroughly flush the area above (proximal) the tendinitis. Apply light friction strokes parallel to the tendon fibers and finish with gentle flush to the entire area. A doctor may recommend taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Once the inflammation is under control I use deep friction massage and protein intake to stimulate collagen production. Tendons are made of collagen. Collagen is made of protein fibers. Therefore, you need protein in the form of collagen to repair any damage. Protein intake should be 56 grams for men and 46 for women. Deep friction massage (aka Neuromuscular Therapy) coupled with proper protein intake allow adhesions to be broken, fibers to be aligned, and healing to take place.
It may take several weeks (or months) to recover from tendinitis completely, but a skilled massage therapist like all of us at Hands on Health, can help get you back in the game (or back to pointing from the lawn chair) as soon as possible.