Tendinitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation of a tendon , a fibrous structure that connects muscle to bone. It can be caused by a sports, professional activity or a daily task involving the performance of repetitive gestures that excessively solicit the tendon.
The clinical picture of tendonitis is dominated by sometimes very intense pain , discouraging any attempt to move.
Tendonitis generally evolves spontaneously towards healing . Its treatment is therefore based on rest and pain management with analgesic and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.
In addition to drug treatments, there are many 100% natural methods to effectively relieve the pain of tendonitis and promote tendon regeneration . We introduce them to you in this article!
What is tendonitis?
Tendons are structures made of very strong collagen fibers that connect muscles to bones. Some of them are surrounded by a sheath that protects them and facilitates their sliding during movement.
When a tendon is the seat of an inflammation , we speak of “tendinitis” . Currently, we prefer to use the term “tendinopathy” to refer to tendon conditions since these are not always of inflammatory origin (they can also be of degenerative or traumatic origin, etc.).
Moreover, when dealing with an inflammation of the tendon sheath (not the tendon itself), the use of the term “tenosynovitis” is preferred.
All the tendons of our musculoskeletal system can be the seat of tendinitis , but some are more frequently affected:
- Shoulder tendons: tendinitis of the rotator cuff .
- Ankle tendons: Achilles tendinitis .
- Tendons of the knee: patellar tendinitis .
- Tendons of the wrist: de Quervain's tendonitis.
- Elbow tendons: epicondylitis.
Tendinitis particularly affects athletes and manual workers (factory or construction workers, gardeners, mechanics, etc.), because the tendons are overstretched , especially when performing repetitive movements .
Clinically, tendinitis is mainly manifested by pain , sometimes very intense, during movements soliciting the pathological tendon(s). Swelling can also be observed in some cases at the level of the joint concerned.
In the absence of adequate care, the pain associated with tendinitis worsens and considerably interferes with daily activities.
How is tendonitis treated?
Remember that our tendons, like our bones, are constantly being remodeled . New collagen fibers , glycoproteins , and proteoglycans are continually made to replace or strengthen old ones.
Thus, the microlesions that occur when the tendons are stressed are continuously repaired. Moreover, well-conducted physical training is capable of increasing their resistance : the tendons are structures that become stronger with use!
All this to say that tendons repair themselves! Therefore, tendinitis is a condition that heals spontaneously after a variable duration.
The medical management of tendinitis therefore aims to eliminate pain while waiting for this spontaneous healing . It is mainly based on:
- Resting the tendon (without immobilizing the joint): to allow the tendon to regenerate.
- The prescription of analgesics and/or anti - inflammatories: to reduce pain and reduce inflammation of the tendon.
- Rehabilitation : to preserve joint mobility (avoid stiffness), promote tendon healing and prevent recurrence.
Tendonitis: how to relieve it naturally?
Treatment for tendinitis relies largely on painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications . However, these can cause side effects when taken excessively.
To reduce this drug intake, it is possible to resort, in a complementary way and after consultation with your doctor, to the following natural solutions :
Cryotherapy: cold treatment
The application of cold next to the inflamed tendon helps to reduce pain (anesthetic effect) and to attenuate the inflammatory reaction .
To take advantage of the therapeutic virtues of the cold , just wrap a few ice cubes in a towel or other clean cloth , then apply the whole thing to the painful area for 15 to 20 minutes .
Repeat this several times a day to keep inflammation and pain at acceptable levels.
Be careful, never apply ice directly and for a long time on the skin , because you risk suffering from skin irritation in the best case, cold burns or even necrosis in the worst case!
Aromatherapy: the good old massage with essential oils!
In addition to helping to relieve pain, massages increase blood flow to the tendons and promote the healing of tendon lesions.
In case of tendinitis, it is recommended to use the deep transverse massage (MTP) , a technique which consists in manipulating in depth the painful areas and massaging the diseased tendon in the transverse direction.
Massage, especially MTP, offers the following benefits:
- Increased local blood flow;
- Acceleration of tendon repair;
- Orientation of collagen fibers in the right direction (transverse);
- Increased tendon flexibility;
- Restoration of range of motion once healing is achieved.
To benefit from an effective massage, consult a professional masseur or a physiotherapist , especially if the painful area is not accessible to self-massage (the back for example).
Finally, for optimal effect, use a massage oil made from vegetable oil (olive or sweet almond oil, for example) in which you have diluted a few drops of certain essential oils with analgesic and/or anti-inflammatory properties. inflammatory.
Here are 5 essential oils that are particularly effective in the case of tendinitis:
- Fragrant wintergreen essential oil: its active ingredient, methyl salicylate, calms joint and musculotendinous pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
- Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil: has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, analgesic and myorelaxant properties (promotes muscle relaxation, and therefore the resting of the diseased tendon).
- Vetiver essential oil: reduces inflammation, soothes pain and promotes tendon repair thanks to its tonic properties (stimulates venous and lymphatic circulation).
- Laurel essential oil: relieves pain by inhibiting certain nerve fibers involved in the transmission of pain messages to the brain.
- Fine lavender essential oil: inhibits certain brain receptors involved in pain perception. This essential oil is also a powerful natural anti-inflammatory.
Be careful, essential oils are very concentrated substances that must be used with great care. Many of them are contraindicated in pregnant or breastfeeding women as well as in children under 6 years of age . Follow the instructions for use mentioned on the leaflets or ask a qualified professional (pharmacist, doctor, aromatherapist, etc.) to avoid any risk.
Phytotherapy: tendon-friendly plants!
To relieve your tendons on a daily basis, make yourself infusions based on one of the following 5 medicinal plants :
- Turmeric : the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, which it owes to its active ingredient "curcumin" , are well established! Consume turmeric daily in the form of an infusion, a spice on your various dishes or a food supplement for the good of your tendons and that of all your joints!
- Ginger: its active ingredients, gingerols and shogaols , offer very interesting toning , antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in the fight against tendon and joint pain .
- Ash: the leaves and buds of the ash tree are very effective in infusion to relieve joint pain , especially those caused by tendonitis .
- Meadowsweet: in addition to fighting inflammation in the tendon, this plant soothes pain and promotes sleep thanks to its analgesic and sedative properties — in fact, sleep can be disturbed by tendinitis due to very intense pain it causes (despite taking medication).
- Horsetail: this plant is very interesting in case of tendonitis, because it helps to improve the flexibility of the tendons , which helps prevent recurrences (especially in athletes).
Acupuncture: traditional Chinese medicine at the service of your tendons
Acupuncture is one of the branches of traditional Chinese medicine which, thanks to the stimulation of certain specific areas of the body (implantation of fine needles at the level of the acupuncture points), offers interesting therapeutic effects in the event of tendonitis :
- Analgesic effect by blocking the transmission of painful messages to the brain.
- Decongestive effect by reducing joint swelling and edema around the inflamed tendon.
- Circulatory effect by increasing the local blood supply, thus promoting the repair of tendon microlesions.
Acupuncture sessions can therefore contribute to the non-pharmacological management of tendonitis.
Green clay poultice: ancestral remedy against many ailments
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties, green clay is a very effective home remedy for tendonitis .
To take advantage of its soothing properties , generously apply green clay paste (poultice available in pharmacies and drugstores) to the painful area. Cover with cling film and leave to act for about half an hour.
You can use this method daily (only once a day) for 5 to 7 days to significantly reduce your tendon pain .
Food: adopt an anti-inflammatory diet!
To reduce inflammation in your body and thus relieve your tendon pain, choose the following foods known for their anti-inflammatory power :
- Fresh fruits and vegetables;
- Whole grains;
- Seeds: sesame, sunflower, rapeseed, squash…
- Rapeseed and flaxseed oil rich in omega 3 ;
- Tea and coffee in reasonable quantities (2 or 3 cups per day);
- Oily fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, etc.) rich in good omega 3 fats
- Oilseeds and nuts: nuts (cashew, Grenoble, Brazil, pecan, etc.), hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.
- Ultra-processed industrial foods;
- Refined grains;
- The sweets ;
- Cooked meats ;
- Red meats;
- Alcoholic beverages;
- Fizzy drinks.
In addition to a healthy, balanced and anti-inflammatory diet , it is important to drink plenty of water (2 to 3 liters per day) to maintain the health of your tendons. Indeed, these are structures made up of 70% water! Prefer bicarbonate waters which optimize tendon regeneration by neutralizing a maximum of acids, particularly after exercise.
Harpagophytum and Turmeric: your best allies for healthy tendons and joints!
Harpagophytum , also called "devil's claw" , is a plant native to the Namibian steppes and the Kalahari desert known for its virtues against osteoarticular and musculotendinous pain .
Thanks to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of harpagoside , the active substance of harpagophytum, this plant is widely used in the management of tendinitis , tenosynovitis , bursitis and other inflammatory pathologies of the osteoarticular sphere .
For optimal action, choose harpagophytum in the form of a food supplement by opting for Coxadol. The latter, a 100% natural product from organic farming, provides a large dose of harpagoside in order to act effectively on painful areas.
As mentioned in the "phytotherapy" section, turmeric , thanks to its active ingredient called "curcumin" , is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories of plant origin! Its regular consumption, in the form of herbal tea or spice, helps to reduce inflammatory phenomena throughout the body and to fight against oxidative stress (antioxidant power).
In the case of tendonitis, it may be a good idea to take curcumin as a dietary supplement to get the most benefit.
In addition, curcumin is an excellent slimming ally and for cardiovascular health, because it promotes the melting of fats in the body , increases the level of good cholesterol (HDL) and decreases that of bad cholesterol (LDL).
Thus, in addition to helping you relieve your tendon pain , curcumin helps you refine your silhouette and protects you against cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke ( stroke)!
Conclusion: key takeaways
- Tendonitis is a common and usually benign condition characterized by the inflammation or degeneration of a tendon .
- The treatment of tendonitis is based on resting the tendon , taking medication (analgesics and anti-inflammatories) and physiotherapy .
- Applying cold to the painful area is a very effective natural solution to relieve the pain associated with tendonitis.
- The deep transverse massage helps relieve pain and promotes tendon regeneration.
- Plants such as harpagophytum , turmeric and meadowsweet are extremely effective in case of tendonitis thanks to their powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- The anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 sources helps reduce inflammation in the tendons and throughout the body.
- Dietary supplements based on harpagophytum and curcumin are effective in the treatment of tendinitis and many other conditions of the osteoarticular sphere .