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Heat or Ice for Tendonitis?

Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones. Thus they are a vital part of the musculoskeletal system. This is why they must be in good condition for the best physical motion.

There are more than 600 muscle-tendon units in our bodies. They are strong enough to bear great deals of stress and pressure. Nonetheless, in some cases, they can fail, resulting in injury.

In many instances, the injury will recover itself with the help of physical therapy and does not require the use of drugs.


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What is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis or tendinitis are used to describe the same condition that is an injury or inflammation of tendons. Nowadays, medicals professionals may choose the term tendinopathy over these terms.

The most common cause of tendon injury is physical exertion or trauma. Tendon injuries are present in 50% of cases of all sports injuries.

Tendinitis of upper and lower limbs is most typical. Thus one might be diagnosed with Achilles tendon pain, tendonitis wrist, peroneal tendonitis, bicep tendonitis, tendonitis hand, shoulder tendonitis, tendonitis ankle, elbow tendonitis, and other.

Some individuals have a higher risk of wounding tendons like older adults, those dealing with diabetes, gout, arthritis, thyroid disease, and also other metabolic disorders.

Certain medications might likewise make tendons weaker and increase the threat of tendinitis.


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Tendonitis Symptoms

Sharp pain is characteristic of tendinitis. Usually, discomfort is very local and can be felt at particular points.

Pain might occur right after an injury or some exercises. Sometimes, there might be tendon thickening or formation of nodules. When it comes to tendon rupture, there might be a loss of mobility.

Often, the medical diagnosis is simple and is based on the medical history of the person. Only n some cases, a physician may ask for an ultrasound, x-ray, or MRI, as well as some other tests.


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Treatment for Tendinitis

Treatment ought to start with omitting tendon rupture (which requires surgical repair), and systemic diseases like diabetes and others. You may use over-the-counter pain-relieving medicines, but they are not needed most of the time. Medicine treatment is usually considered in the most severe conditions.

Physical therapy is the primary method to deal with tendinitis. It involves exercises, stretching, massage therapy, rest, protection (immobilization), and others.

In severe tendon trauma, any kind of non-pharmacological treatment should begin with PRICE:

  • Protection - through temporary immobilization, use of splints, and also other supportive devices.
  • Rest - to make sure that the body has enough time to recover. It indicates staying clear of severe exercises but not bed rest.
  • Ice - to decrease inflammation and discomfort.
  • Compression - to overcome swelling.
  • Elevation - particularly when it comes to lower limb trauma to reduce edema.

Nonetheless, once the severe phase is over, physiotherapy with the use of workout is a better way to heal quicker. Exercise helps to increase the range of movement, maintain muscles and tendons warm, and also improve local blood flow. Workout can be combined with warmth therapy for faster recovery.


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Tendonitis Risk Factors

You may be at increased risk for experiencing biceps tendonitis if you do or have:

  • Sports that involve overhead arm movements or contact. These include football, gymnastics, swimming, climbing, or lifting weights;
  • Inflexibility and also poor strength;
  • Workout without warming up the muscles and tendons before starting challenging activities;
  • Activities that restrain the elbow;
  • Injuries to either the shoulder or the elbow;
  • Heavy labor.


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Tendonitis Prevention

Follow these tips to help prevent tendonitis:

  • Always take time to warm up as well as stretch before starting physical activities.
  • Permit yourself to take enough time to recuperate between different activities.
  • Commit to a regular workout routine to build stamina and flexibility. Make sure that you know and practice appropriate strategies when you work out.
  • Avoid repeated activities that create problems.


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Exercises to Reduce Pain from Arm Tendonitis

If you're experiencing any one of the symptoms associated with tendonitis, you can attempt the exercises below. If your feelings of pain boost, stop instantly. While your tendon heals, make sure to avoid overhead lifting movements.

1. Flexion and Extension

  • Flex and extend the elbow on your damaged side by carefully bringing the palm of your hand to the shoulder.
  • Make sure to bend the elbow as much as possible. After that, straighten your arm and joint.
  • Make 15 repeatings.
  • Rest, and afterward perform one more set of 15 reps.

2. Single Shoulder Flexion

  • Begin by standing with your arms at your side.
  • Maintaining the damaged arm straight, raise it forward and up till it points to the ceiling.
  • Hold for about 5 seconds, and after that, return to the starting pose.
  • Perform one more set within between 8 and 12 raises, holding each raising for 5 secs.

3. Biceps Stretch

  • Face a wall, standing around 6 inches away.
  • With your hand down, raise the arm on your damaged side and touch the thumb side of your hand to the wall surface.
  • Make sure your arm is straight, and after that, turn your body away from your increased arm till you feel a stretch in the biceps.
  • Hold this stretch for about 15 secs.
  • Rest, and after that, perform two more reps.

4. Reclining External Turning

  • Relax with your injured side facing up.
  • Extend your other arm along the ground, and also put your head against it. Bend your knees for comfort and balance.
  • Put your upper arm on your side and bend the elbow on your injured side to 90 degrees. Your palm is facing in towards your body and your lower arm down toward the floor.
  • Maintain your elbow put against your body. Afterward, raise your lower arm until it's parallel to the ground.
  • Slowly lower it back down and repeat for 15 times.
  • Rest, and then perform another set. You can attempt this workout with a light dumbbell or perhaps a container of soup, building up the weight slowly.

5. Sleeper Stretch

  • Lie on the injured side.
  • Use a cushion for your head, and also bend your knees for comfort and balance.
  • Bend the elbow of the damaged arm to ensure that your fingers point toward the ceiling. Then use your other hand to push the damaged arm towards the floor carefully.
  • Resist the push to feel the stretch. Focus on keeping your shoulder blades pressed with each other as you move through the exercise.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 secs, after that rest, and repeat two more times.

6. Biceps Curl

  • Hold a lightweight (5-8 pounds), a hammer, or can of soup in hand on your damaged side.
  • Stand straight, maintaining your elbow against the side of your body.
  • Bring your palm up toward your shoulder, bending the elbow yet maintaining it in the very same place. Pause, and after that, slowly return to the starting pose.
  • Perform 8 to 12 repetitions.
  • Rest, and then complete another collection. If this exercise is too easy, try increasing the weight. 


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When to Use Heat or Ice?

Considering that both heat and ice can be used as a treatment for sprains, strains, or tendinitis, it can become a bit complex for many people.

As a rule of thumb, ice treatment must be preferred in the early stages of tendinitis. It is especially useful throughout the very first 72 hrs. Not only does ice reduce pain sensation, but it also helps control inflammation.

Inflammation is our body's method of reacting as a defense mechanism. It is essential for complete recovery. Yet often, inflammation reaction can be too extreme. It can create damage as well as cause a slowdown of the healing process.

Ice treatment will not stop swelling, yet it will help with controlling it. For ice treatment, one can use a gel ice pack, or even a pack of icy vegetables like a bag of peas would work well. Use an ice bag for about 15 minutes several times a day. In the hospital, the professional may use cryotherapy with the help of a specific apparatus.

When that early stage is over, and the pain has decreased, it is time to begin physical treatment, start moving, doing exercises, stretching. Still, before beginning physical therapy, it is advisable to use heat therapy. It will boost local blood circulation and also relax the surrounding muscles.

The warmth treatment can be continued for many days, even when pain and visible swelling has decreased. The heat will help with better healing. For heat treatment, you can use special electrical pads, warm water bottles, also saunas, or infrared lamps. Hot baths, steamed towels might likewise help.


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When To Use Cold Treatment

A Cold Compress or Ice bag works best to eliminate pain, swelling, and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury, and also during immediate post-surgery recovery. Cold treatment should also be used during the first 24 - 72 hrs of therapy combined with resting your injury.

When to use cold compress:

  • 24 to 72 hours after your initial injury or when you initially feel the pain and swelling to stop cellular damage, alleviate discomfort, as well as reduce swelling;
  • After the workout, exercises, or activity of any kind to avoid re-injury;
  • Before and also after surgical treatment throughout rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and also swelling;
  • Anytime you feel swelling in your tendon, or nearby muscles have flared up (most likely as a result of some activity);
  • Anytime you have swelling, sharp, throbbing discomfort, or inflammation.
  • Any other time when you need to draw the swelling and discomfort out of your tendon and also surrounding tissue.


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When to Use a Heat treatment

  • When the swelling (and associated discomfort as a result of swelling) has been reduced, usually, after applying cold compression to the injury over 24 to 48 human resources period;
  • Before getting out of bed in the early morning. And before going to bed at night;
  • Before exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to increase the elasticity of joint tendons and ligaments as well as decrease chance of re-injury;
  • After the surgical procedure (once the skin injury has recovered) to speed up the post-surgery recovery and minimize scar tissue growth at the surgery area;
  • Anytime you feel your tendon may have stiffened up, it is tight, and your mobility is lowered, causing you more pain;
  • Anytime before you think you may undertake activity that will undoubtedly cause significant stress on the injury;
  • Any other time when you require to increase blood flow to your injury to relax soft tissue in your joint, alleviate trigger point pain/spasm, prevent re-injury as well as enhance the flexibility of soft tissue.

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